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Wine bar group Vinoteca on the brink after filing for protection from creditors

The business, founded by Charlie Young, Brett Woonton and Elena Ares in 2005, closed its 4,500 sq. ft. venue in Birmingham in May.

It blamed rising energy prices and the impact of ongoing train strikes for the decision, which left the team ‘heartbroken’, according to Young.

Vinoteca still runs five upmarket wine bars in London, located in Borough Yards, the City, Chiswick, Farringdon and King’s Cross.

However, their future has been plunged into jeopardy after the company filed a court notice of its intention to appoint administrators.

That will afford it a modicum of breathing space from creditors, but Vinoteca risks slipping into full insolvency if it cannot find a way to restructure its debts within the next 10 days.

Vinoteca’s first venue launched in Farringdon 18 years ago, offering around 25 wines by the glass and 280 wines by the bottle. It follows a hybrid format, allowing visitors to buy bottles of wine to take home too.

Its second wine bar launched in Marylebone in 2010, followed by a third in Soho two years later. The company expanded into Chiswick in 2013, King’s Cross in 2014 and the City in 2017.

The Soho site closed in 2018, but the expansion continued apace, with Vinoteca Borough Yards opening at the start of 2022.

Vinoteca also moved out of London for the first time by opening Birmingham’s largest wine bar in the Paradise development in July 2022.

However, the Marylebone wine bar closed last summer, followed by the Birmingham site a few months ago.

‘It is with great sadness that we have had to make the very difficult decision to close the doors at Vinoteca Birmingham and are heartbroken to be leaving the incredible Paradise development and a city we have grown to respect and admire,’ said Young at the time.

It blamed the challenges of a much-changed economic landscape over the past 12 months, featuring rising costs, inflation, spiralling energy charges and regular train strikes.

Those same pressures may have impacted its London sites, which now face an uncertain future.

Kroll, a restructuring specialist, recently revealed that there have been 42 administrations in the UK leisure and hospitality sector so far this year.

Retail has been hit even harder, with insolvencies at their highest level in at least a decade, according to law firm RPC. The British Retail Consortium revealed that shop vacancies now stand at 13.9% after roughly 6,000 stores closed over the past five years.

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