Greenhouse Pioneer: Neil Palmer, Vintage Roots
At Greenhouse, we are big fans of the burgeoning organic wine movement as drinking ‘organic’ can help protect soils, biodiversity and reportedly leave you with less of a hangover the next day! We spoke to Neil Palmer, co-founder and director of Vintage Roots, the organic wine people, to find out more about our favourite sustainable wine supplier. Tell us, in 20 words or fewer, about Vintage Roots - what's your mission? To supply the best organic and biodynamic wines and drinks from around the world. What drives you? Making and selling organic wine, whilst knowing the customers are getting pleasure from our wines and the growers and producers are being rewarded for their efforts and commitment. What is your greatest achievement to date? Having helped launch and run a successful and ethically run business for over 30 years, and to have had such a low staff turnover is a great achievement. Being ‘Green Retailer of the Year’ in Drinks Business Magazine in 2015 felt like a pat on the back too. What are the challenges you face? Keeping our ranges and vintages fresh, interesting and innovative is a constant challenge, as we need to continue to be the ‘go to’ drinks company for organic and biodynamic wines. What are you working on that's getting you fired up and excited? Working on rebranding a range of our own label organic wines called ‘Wild Thing’. We source these in southern Spain and donate money from every bottle sold to The Born Free Foundation. It’s a great win-win situation, good wine at a fair price, organically produced and helping a wildlife and conservation charity too. As the label says ‘For Nature, By Nature’. Where do you want to take Vintage Roots next? There is no big vision, I hope we have maintained our small business feel, even though we are a reasonable size now. We need and want to grow, standing still is never an option. What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference? Well you can’t make a bottle of wine from a single grape can you?! How is what you are doing inspiring change in others? Wine is a luxury product, we all have choice and I just want to help wine drinkers make wise choices – call it inspiration if you like. Call it ‘message in a bottle’. Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book for our readers? The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz is a useful book to read and re-read. That reminds me! What do you listen to when you're cooking dinner? I don’t need to listen to anything when I cook, but I do like dance music. I used to DJ back in the day and was a massive roots reggae fan. You can’t beat some Vintage Roots! What's the best advice you've ever been given? Remember, it’s only wine. Can you leave us with who'd be your Eco Hero? I could name quite a few inspirational wine growers. Anyone who walks the talk really. If you’re a pioneering organisation driving positive environmental or social change, we would love to help tell your story to amplify the message and create tangible impact. Get in touch with the team on 0330 223 0645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.