Following a successful international career, Cecily Chappel heads up Chelsea Vintners, wine merchants serving private clients looking to build the best wine collection they can.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO WINE? The first photo of me is at my Christening with a bottle of Bollinger. My father was keen on Bordeaux and Burgundy. Every Sunday lunch I’d have a glass of wine with water, and he’d tell stories about the wine. I studied French and Italian, got a summer job in Bordeaux and had this lightbulb moment that a passion could be a career.
WHAT THEN? I sent a handwritten letter to Corney & Barrow to please take me on in private client sales. Being a woman in sales was a rarity, so I was tested a lot by colleagues and clients to see if I could keep up with drinking. I earned the nickname “Hollow Legs” because of the amount I could put away. I had an idea to open an office in Hong Kong and they asked me to write a business plan. I thought for someone else, but they sent me to head it at the age of 25. I opened the office in Singapore too, was recruited by a billionaires’ private members club and went into consultancy over lockdown before being approached by Chelsea Vintners to build the business.
WHAT DOES CHELSEA VINTNERS DO? It started as a passion project between three wine lovers to disrupt the market and offer honest, better advice. I met the team and loved everyone I met. We get the best wines to our clients whether it’s to enjoy now or as a legacy product for collectors. Like a wealth management company, we look after fewer clients but we look after them properly. I haven’t seen anyone that offers such interesting wines as us.
WHAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE YOU’VE DEALT WITH? A couple of months ago we sourced a £37K bottle for a client to drink.
WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING RIGHT NOW? South African wines offer value and deliciousness you can’t beat.
FAVOURITE PLACE FOR A GLASS OF WINE? My clients’ houses… But other than that, 67 Pall Mall and Oswalds offer huge lists and new experiences.
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT? Noize has an awesome wine list, spot on service and they know their glassware.
FAVOURITE PLACE FOR A LATE NIGHT DRINK? 10 Cases has a lovely atmosphere and interesting ever-changing wines. And they do a nice cocktail if you ask.