Mobie's fine line in wines

MOBIE Maw is a man with a passion.He travels the world; this week he's in Barcelona and Milan, to bring back the bottled treasures which could be arriving on your doorstep soon.

By Tracey Sparling

READERS are signing up to join the Evening Star Wine Club to save money, in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING meets the man behind the venture.

MOBIE Maw is a man with a passion.

He travels the world; this week he's in Barcelona and Milan, to bring back the bottled treasures which could be arriving on your doorstep soon.

Mobie - his real name is Mowbray - owns Wine Buffers at Ipswich Station, and his latest venture is the Evening Star Wine Club where readers are treated to three good discount offers a month, and will receive a membership form with their purchase.

In what is believed to be a unique service, members can ring up to place an order and it will be immediately sent by taxi to your door, free of charge if you live in the IP1 to IP5 postcode area.

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There will also be a special mixed Christmas box of well-known wines which you can order for £69 instead of the £98 original price.

The 500 wines which Mobie deals in, are far more than simply a commodity to sell. When he talks of wine, whether it's Rocca, Riesling or Rioja or any more varieties, it's clear this enthusiast knows his stuff.

“This 1997 Rocca,” he says, holding a heavy bottle of the darkest red in his hand, “is the most beautiful bottle of wine. There's this dark bitter chocolate thing going on inside it -and it's 15.5 per cent!

“It's in the Star Wine Club for Christmas and there are only 22 cases of it left in the UK.

“I love wine, and I'm very lucky to be able to do this. I wouldn't claim to have the most discerning palette but I have a commercial palette so I hope I can find what most people like. Wine Buffers has something for everyone, from £3.79 to a £140 burgundy. We have 280 wines in the shop today and 20 per cent of them are award-winning, but if we haven't got the one you want we can always find it.”

Considering it's in such small premises, beside the railway platform, the shop is packed with stock. It's currently restocking the range of regional ales to hold 146, has about 70 lagers, and has bought in Rekorderlig fruit ciders from Sweden including varieties like passion fruit, and strawberry with lime. The shop also delivers purchases to customers across Ipswich, free of charge, within five days.

It's staffed by Mobie, with his sons James and Toby helping out, and the Porter family.

Mobie, 46, has enjoyed a varied career, from working on minesweepers in the Royal Navy, to running garages, and looking after people with learning difficulties.

After importing wine for a wholesaler at Southend since 1992, he branched out on his own.

He said: “Wine Buffers started out as a joke conversation with friends, who were moaning that they couldn't get a bottle of wine on their way home. We started to look at Stowmarket Station but then this place came up so we took it - that was in June 2005 - after that somebody else went and opened a shop at Stowmarket!”

A second Wine Buffers shop also opened at Chelmsford Station this year, and Mobie quite likes the idea of franchises for the future.

He said: “We're very lucky in Britain to have such an eclectic choice of wines, in Italy you struggle to find anything other than Italian wines and France is just starting to introduce a few brands. I've also been to Australia seven times now, and I like finding new suppliers. I also like recommending wines to people and its great when I send a dedicated 'dry white wine drinker' home with something very different instead, which they later tell me they loved.

“15 years ago wine had an enormous snob value attached to it, and that just isn't the case any more. Most people like a glass of wine, whether it's with their evening meal or on special occasions, and wine sales increase by 12 per cent every year -with a ridiculously huge increase at Christmas time.”

He surveyed the packed shelves and added: “My own favourite depends on what mood I'm in. There isn't a wine in here I haven't tasted - well I have to taste them to know what to recommend, don't I?”


Wine Buffers is hosting a free wine tasting from 11am to 9pm on Friday at Ipswich Town Hall, call 07982 828937 for details.

20 million acres of land are planted to grapes across the world.

1 Do decant red wine into a decanter of room temperature, to introduce as much air as possible

2 Do chill cheaper wine - the cheaper it is, the colder it should be served

3 Do watch the clock - dry neutral wines and tangy Sauvignon Blancs take more chilling, up to three hours in a fridge.

4 Don't chill Chardonnay, good burgundy or Rhone whites for more than an hour as they start to lose their nuttiness.

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