Tony ‘Tone’

Tony from the Fizz Company standing in a doorway in a pik shirt and jeans, smiling at the camera

“nah then son, wots this i hear bout thee supping that champagne stuff, try the’ sen some of this bitta, a rate drink” …. were pretty much the words when all my friends and family from Castleford heard about my new career direction.

It was bad enough that at the age of 18 I shunned university for a computer job at Rowntree Mackintosh and the inevitable “those computer things will never catch on” line. It obviously helped  that I was working in a chocolate factory and I used to tell people I was the one who wrote “After Eight” 30 times on the bottom of each After Eight mint. I told them that I used to spell some of them wrong so that I could get them as seconds …. and I soon had a long queue of friends waiting for the seconds.

As people were right and computers did not catch on, I only spent the next 25 years in IT and a good part of this was spent travelling around Europe and especially Germany, which is where I developed my passion for wine. Germany I hear you say ! He’s been doing too much tasting has that lad – did he say Germany? Let me explain…

Back in the 80’s unless you were fortunate to live next to an upmarket “offy”, you ended up with Hobsons choice – Black tower, Blue Nun, Liebfraumilch (Literally translated as Woman’s Love Milk… mmmm – sounds lovely), and frankly I did not like it. Even when eventually the news broke in Castleford in the 90’s that you chilled white wine, it did not improve things. So imagine my shock in 1993 when I found myself in a German vineyard with 5 of my German colleagues sniggering behind my back – “we send the UK all the wine we do not want, why would we send you the wine we love to drink?” – they had a point and wow, did I enjoy their wine.

I never forgot this and so towards the end of the 90’s I found myself in the Champagne region and the same thing happened again. When I could afford it or was given it, I had drunk the usual UK big brands and enjoyed it more because I was drinking champagne than actually enjoying the wine itself, but now in the champagne region, I discovered again the delights of the lesser known and in most cases unknown (to the UK) champagnes which existed. It was a mind slapping revelation and when I came back to the UK and found I could not buy these champagnes, I put my IT skills to good use and founded Champagne Warehouse “the website”  in 1999. In a relatively short period of time we have taken the T’internet for granted, but in 1999 we were still learning a lot and I remember with a smile trying to explain to the licensing magistrates what the internet was – for those old enough to remember the judge in the Not the Nine oClock news sketch – you will know what I am talking about.

Anyway, 16 years on the rest they say is history and despite up and downs, my driving passion for great value champagnes and wines has taken the business to areas I could only dream about. I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved and how they have helped me to carry my mantle for this long.

And finally … I know I have been a little tongue in cheek about Castleford, but I really do love the place and have only moved 15 miles away in 40 odd years… and now pleased to say we have a lot of customers in Castleford “supping that champagne stuff”.

I hope you enjoy The Fizz Company site, the service and most of all our products.