Vinique was established in 2009 by Tristan Mawdsley and his wife, Ellen, as a specialist importer of new discovery wines into Switzerland. Having considered themselves passionate wine enthusiasts for many years, traveling regularly to make winery visits, they were always looking for the unusual and the interesting. However, it was the return of Ellen's winemaker brother from California to set up his own winery in France that pushed Ellen and Tristan to take the next step. A short strategy discussion followed along the lines of - "The Clos de Trias wines are amazing, we should be the ones to import them, shouldn't we?... followed by - "Yes and what about all those other tiny, organic wineries we've been visiting in the last few years, shouldn't we try and import them too?" And so, the company was formed.
Vinique’s goal has remained the same from outset. We wish to be recognised for the quality and uniqueness of our wine selection from areas of Europe that we feel are under-represented in the Swiss market. In addition, we are very much focused on small, organic producers where commonly the owner is the winemaker and preferably they are doing something a little different, whether it be using unusual grape varietals, or different winemaking techniques. We are definitely not interested in producers that carry a brand premium, use mass production techniques, or regions of Europe where we feel the wines are generally too expensive relative to the average quality. We are looking for exceptional wines at great value prices.
We have spent many hours and made many visits searching out these winemakers. We often visit many times and will even ask to help at harvest time so we can see first-hand their approach and attitude. We want to see an adaptable style that takes account of the variations of vintage so that the quality is maintained year after year. if they offer a range of wines, they should really taste like they are worth it right along the price range. Due to their size, these small family wineries tend to be overlooked by the big importers even though they have great rating scores and prices, therefore almost all of them are unique to us here in Switzerland. It is this combination of uniqueness, quality, price and hopefully a really interesting background story, that gives these wines the sense of being a true discovery; something special.