Isabelle clenden’s experience At the berry brothers & Rudd 325th anniversary in london
Berry Brothers & Rudd were gracious enough to invite me to their 325th anniversary in London this past June, and I was honored to be able to attend. They are the oldest of Britain’s wine and spirits merchants. As an American, it is hard to wrap my mind around a company that has been operating since 1698. In that year, a woman we only know as The Widow Bourne started the company importing teas, coffee, and spices. It was profoundly inspiring to then get to be at this event hosted by Lizzy Rudd, chair, and Emma Fox, CEO, as a continuation of woman leadership for the company.
Due to their expansions into other countries, I was fortunate to practice my Japanese by talking to the members of their Japanese branch along with their clientele. It felt like no time at all had gone by when they all requested us to head to our seats. I went to look for my seat on the giant chart when I saw a man pointing at a familiar name. “Olivier Merlin? I know that name!” I exclaimed. When he turned he immediately recognized me and gave me a tearful hug. Merlin is a brilliant winemaker in Macconais, France, and a dear friend to my father.
At the dinner, I got to meet many lovely people and catch up with two more important people from my childhood and dear friends of my dad’s. The conversation turned to Etienne de Montille, and he happened to be sitting at the table just next to mine, so we were able to have a nice chat. Montille is another fantastic French producer in Côte d’Or. Jasper Morris, an expert on Burgundian wine, also was kind enough to make his way over to say ‘hi’ and reminisce about Dad. It was a wonderful night full of friends and I am thankful to have gotten to experience it.