AN INDEPENDENT Herefordshire shop has been handed a top award.

Hay Wines, a small independent wine shop in the medieval market town of Ledbury, won the Best Italian Wine Selection Award at Milano Wine Week earlier this month.

Just as fashion and perfume have a week dedicated to introducing the world to everything new and exciting within their respective industries, so too does wine.

Milano Wine Week in Italy is the go-to event of the year, a who’s who of everyone in the wine business, offering tastings, conferences and the chance to experience new products and lines.


Holly Salt, daughter of owners Jane and Chris Salt from Hay Wines, travelled to the event to discover new wines for the shop.

On arrival, she was presented with the award. The Salt family was completely unaware that the business was going to be chosen by judges for having the best Italian wine selection both in-store and online. They are the only independent wine specialist retailer in the whole of the UK to receive this award in 2023.

Hay Wines put this success down to a passion for what they do and the desire to seek out the very special. Equally important to the Salt family, though, is family values.

Owner Jane Salt said: “We have a lot more in common with these artisan producers than wine! We’re a family-run rural business and there’s a genuine connection when we speak directly to small family-run vineyards dotted around the countryside.

"We have the same outlook and we do our best to represent them. That ethos extends to growers in other countries not just Italy.

“Everyone at Hay Wines is highly trained, and we even have our very own sommelier - small can be mighty!"

Hay Wines, in Ledbury's High Street, was founded in Hay-on-Wye in 2009 as a wholesale business supplying pubs and restaurants. 

The business opened its first shop in November that year, and now coordinates its retail, wholesale, events, and online operations from Ledbury.