NEARLY TWO BILLION REASONS TO DRINK BOX WINE
As the world’s largest wine importer, the UK brings in 1.8 billion bottles of wine each year. It’s a booming industry. But not necessarily a sustainable one. When you consider that most of those bottles will only be used once, you start to get a picture of why the way we drink our wine needs an overhaul.
When in Rome’s mission is to reduce that unholy pile of single-use wine bottles. We start by hand-picking premium quality craft wine from some of Italy’s best small and independent producers and they box it for us in the vineyard and send it to the UK by train.
It’s all part of our plan to start a box wine revolution here in the UK – the likes of which we’re already seeing in Scandinavia, Italy, France, Canada and the US.
WINE THAT'S KINDER
Because our wine comes from smaller producers – whose families have been perfecting their craft over generations – it’s less intensively produced and kinder to the land.
Boxed wine is far lighter to transport than bottles (so less emissions) and once you’re done the box can be recycled. We’re working towards 100% recyclable packaging. But until then, please recycle the box, reuse the bag and share your best (and most ingenious) ideas on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.
LET'S START A REVOLUTION
When in Rome wants to smash people’s perceptions of box wine and start a box wine revolution, here in the UK.
It’s going well so far. You can now buy our wine in Waitrose and Harvey Nichols stores across the UK. In fact, it’s the first time Harvey Nichols has sold box wine in over 136 years of trading.
Many of us in the UK associate box wine with cheap plonk. Poor quality wine, poured straight from the box into your glass – and you soon lose track of what you’re drinking.
It’s not that different in Italy. Most Italian city dwellers still buy their wine in bottles.
But in the Italian countryside things are different. Country folk like to visit their local winery with a refillable container – fill it, take it home, decant and enjoy. It’s how Italian families have been enjoying their wine for centuries.
Thankfully, it’s a tradition that’s starting to seep back into city life. As more and more Italians are starting to ditch single-use wine bottles in favour of box wine.
A BOX WINE REVOLUTION FOR THE UK
Drinking your wine as the Italians do is far more enjoyable, sustainable and sensible. Not only do you get to discover some of Italy’s best kept wine secrets – producers so far off the beaten track you’d never normally find them – you also get to keep track of what you’ve had.
Once opened each box stays fresh for up to six weeks, or if you decant it into one of our refillable bottles it’s three days. And because box wine is far cheaper to package and transport you’ll get more wine for your money.
Decant your wine into a bottle or carafe – pop it in the fridge to chill or allow it to breathe – and keep track of what you’re drinking.
The vacuum tap will keep your wine fresh for up to six weeks – so you get to enjoy a single glass, whenever you fancy, without having to pour the rest away.
Having lived in Italy, Rob started When in Rome to put some fun into drinking Italian wine in the UK. Because Italy is fun. It’s where he drank wine without ever discussing body or bouquet.
He’s a wine lover, not an expert and felt he couldn’t be the only one.
Serendipity and a glorious Google search led him to Andrea Marchesi’s wine store in Milan and the rest, as they say, is history.
When he’s not folding wine boxes or paying wine import duty, Rob can be found running across muddy fields near his Cotswold home or fixing Luigi, When in Rome’s Ape (pronounced ah-pay) our beloved but capricious three-wheeled van.
Rob’s favourite wine: Merlot IGT Veneto
Why: ‘I love the fact that this wine is so adaptable. It is light enough to drink in warmer weather (it can even be served slightly chilled) and has enough body to remain as enjoyable during the winter months.’
Head of Partnerships
A fully qualified oenologist, Andrea studied wine to dazzlingly high standards before producing his own red in Italy’s Lombardy region.
Sadly, his modest vineyard couldn’t sustain his family’s lifestyle. So they moved to Milan where he and Lorenzo Canali now own two wine shops.
Andrea still dreams of returning to the hills to make vino. In the meantime, you’ll find him selling some of Italy’s most stunning wines – handpicked exclusively by him – to Milan’s movers and shakers.
When in Rome’s foundations rest clearly on Andrea’s buff palate and we couldn’t have found a nicer chap for them to do so.
Andrea’s favourite wine: Sauvignon IGT Venezia Giulia
Why: ‘Because it’s fresh and direct. Unambiguous, you either like it or you don’t. It’s a great wine to drink in good company.’
Lorenzo was a frustrated social worker when Andrea persuaded him to give it all up and sell wine in Milan.
Now they have a store each. Lorenzo’s is neat and tidy. Andrea’s has all the charm of a rambling professor’s study. Despite such contrast appearances, both sell the most awesome wines imaginable in boxes, bottles and refillable containers.
Lorenzo is a self-declared romantic (who looks a bit too much like George Harrison for his own good). When he’s not in the shop, you’ll find him cycling around Milan on a cargo bike delivering vino to happy customers, or falling in love at the drop of a hat with any pretty wine producer who happens to cross his path.
Lorenzo’s favourite wine: Barbera DOC Piemonte
Why: ‘It’s strong, decisive and clear. A no-nonsense, down-to-earth wine that’s simple and immediate.’
Antony has been a regular on the wine circuit for many years now, having founded his own wine events company that provides wine training courses and wine tasting events. Unsurprisingly Rob and Antony kept bumping into each other at events around the country and it wasn’t long before they were talking Lombarby and logistics.
Antony, despite his youthfulness, brings years of experience in not only the best way to move wine around the world and get it to a larger audience, but also an ability to spend hours discussing the nuances of Italy’s best box wines with Andrea (and really know about what he’s talking about).
Antony would like to point out that although he often has dark red teeth, it is because he has (almost always) only been tasting lots of wine, not drinking it!
Antony’s favourite wine: Barbera DOC Piemonte
Why: ‘I’ve been lucky enough to taste many good wines and this is right up there with the best of them.’
Rob ran into Claire, literally, at a local running club and discovered that not only did they both enjoy running and a good glass of wine but also, much to Rob’s delight, Claire’s love of keeping a business organised.
Claire has extensive experience of managing offices, ensuring administration is streamlined and operations run to an efficient and professional standard throughout the business. She has joined When in Rome with a firm eye on taking the business through the next stages of growth and we couldn’t think of anyone better to do it.
Despite her surname, Claire’s Italian (by her own admission) could be somewhat improved. So along with learning more about Italian wines, she’ll also be learning more Italian. Bravissima!
Claire’s favourite wine: Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC
Why: ‘As I child I loved Ribena and let’s just say that my tastes have developed over the years and this is my new favorite.’
Ben has a long held love for Italy, having spent many summer holidays with Italian friends. Although his Italian isn’t great these days, he can still order a glass of wine.
Having struck up conversation with a random stranger in the pub, it soon became clear the eccentric gentleman’s passion for running was dull, but his plan to sell boxes of wine from a three-wheeled van was much more exciting.
When he’s not updating this website, you’ll find Ben in the cinema, although he’ll politely ask you not to talk to him once the film starts.
Ben’s favourite wine – Grillo DOC Sicilia
Why: ‘Because it can be enjoyed as much on a hot summer’s day over a barbecue, as a cold New Year’s Eve with friends. Don’t leave a full box too close to me.’
Without Steve, you almost certainly wouldn’t be browsing this site. Our resident tech-hero brings all our gorgeous wines and loved-up ramblings about them to life and onto your screen .
Steve’s wife lived in Italy for many years and with his quality sunglasses, designer black quiff (not to mention being the best dressed man in the Cotswolds village where When in Rome is based) he could well pass for an Italian himself.
Such rock solid tech credentials – Steve created the first ever virus for Apple devices – would normally put him well out of reach of a humble startup like us, yet so far he’s worked tirelessly for boxed wine alone.
Steve’s favourite wine: Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC
Why: ‘My code is like Sicily – distant, intriguing and utterly unfathomable to outsiders.’
Rob unashamedly declares his love for Luke at least twice a week.
Luke was pivotal in conceiving the look and feel of When in Rome – largely inspired by classic mid-century Italian design (the 1950s to you and I) – and bringing us to life as a modern classic.
His creative work and ideas have graced some of the world’s biggest brands.
As well as lover of Italian design, Luke’s also a lover of Italian food, Italian football, and now (since working here) Italian wine.
Luke’s favourite wine: Grillo DOC Sicilia
Why: ‘Because it’s so easy to drink. I’ll definitely need a constant supply over the summer months.’
MADE BY SMALL PRODUCERSYou know how craft beer makers ooze enthusiasm for what they do? It’s the same with these guys. Only they’ve been making beautiful Italian craft wine for generations.
BOXED IN THE VINEYARDOnce the wine is ready, our boxes are filled straight from the vat. You get to choose from two sizes. La Grande contains five litres (over 6 bottles) of wine and La Mezza contains 2.25 litres (3 bottles).
BROUGHT HERE BY TRAINEach journey starts in Verona when around 1,800 boxes – equivalent to around 12,000 bottles of wine – begin a seven day journey across Italy, into France and through the Channel Tunnel.
STRAIGHT TO YOU
Once opened wine stays fresh for up to six weeks. La Mezza boxes will fit snugly inside your fridge door. And when you’re done the box can be recycled (we’re working on the bag).