In the autumn of 2015 Morrish & Banham wine merchant and tasting room opened its doors in Brewery Square Dorchester, it is owned by Mark and Caroline Banham (Caroline’s maiden name is Morrish, so hence the name).
Mark started life in the wine trade in 1990 working in Luckins Wine Store, Great Dunmow. He also studied at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in London, passing all examinations including Diploma by the age of only 21. He then headed off to Leicester University to gain a degree in Geography & Archaeology, but soon returned to the wine trade working for Tanners Wines, Shropshire.
In 2002 he headed south to join Palmers Brewery. In 2014 Mark became a WSET Certified Educator and now delivers Wine & Spirit Education Trust approved education at Furleigh Estate.
Mark is an old school taster; he will focus 100% on a particular wine, even in a busy wine show, giving it time to develop. He can taste 200 wines in a day and still be able to find the gems that are delicious and great value, ensuring that his customers enjoy every sip.
Caroline worked for Dorset County Council in tourism, concentrating on the West Dorset area and worked in the Dorchester Information Centre. She left when this was reorganised and now helps Mark in all aspects of the shop, using her knowledge of wine that she has learnt over the years.
They hold a large selection of personally selected and tasted wines from around the world, also a good range of the ever popular Dorset wines, beers & ciders. Not forgetting gin, Dorset has an ever-growing supply of new gins and these can also be found on Mark and Caroline’s shelves.
Not only selling wine wholesale and retail, there are regular tastings in the shop and you can even book your own private wine or gin tasting party. The tasting table originates from Eldridge Pope Brewery and has been modified to include an ice tray running down the middle. Mark and Caroline love to champion local food and to accompany the tastings they serve tapas of Dorset charcuterie and Dorset cheeses.
Monthly wine tasting dinners are held at Yalbury & Yvons Café in Dorchester and the Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock. With popup tastings in other West Dorset restaurants – join their mailing list to receive all the latest news and tasting dates www.morrishandbanham.com/joinourlist.html
They work closely with Lloyd Brown (aka Grey Bear) who is one of Dorset’s leading mixologists. When Mark & Caroline have escaped for some much needed R&R, Lloyd can be found in the shop conjuring up a few cocktails.
Life is too short to drink bad wine, so get along to see Mark & Caroline and let them guide you through their extensive wine selection and give your taste buds a real treat.
Blog and photos kindly written and taken by our volunteer John Grindle.