Nick Baile MW, regarded as a seminal figure in UK wine retailing for his leadership of the Oddbins chain, has died.
Baile passed away on 9 October after a short illness, his family announced. He was 81 and had spent his entire working life in the wine trade, becoming the 33rd Master of Wine in 1961.
However, he was best known for his work with Oddbins, which he bought out of receivership in 1973 alongside Dennis Ing. Before selling to Seagrams in 1984, he is credited with helping to broaden and develop the availability of new and interesting wines in the UK.
‘His vision was clear to try, wherever possible, to buy direct, to be innovative and to have the best trained staff,’ said his son, Simon Baile. ‘He was a wonderfully energetic man and will be sadly missed.’
Oddbins has also epitomised the precarious nature of the UK’s independent wine trade at various points in the last few decades.
In 2011, the group fell into administration, after Simon Baile’s failed effort to revive the chain, which was already struggling when he took ownership in 2008. Today, the brand survives with a smaller network of shops under the ownership of EFB Group.
Written by Chris Mercer