Laithwaites family business
Though Laithwaites may still be a "family company", the focus of the real Laithwaite family business has shifted.
"My son Henry’s a wine-maker and Barbara has a vineyard too." explains Tony.
"Once she was properly retired, Barbara thought she’d get bored and I thought it was a good idea too, to divert some of her energy." He grins.
"She and a friend jointly run this vineyard in the Chiltern Hills."
Barbara makes sparkling wine an endeavour that Tony wholeheartedly supports:
"I’ve been saying for years we should concentrate on sparkling and not still wines [in the UK], the climate’s not quite good enough for still. You don't need your grapes to be ripe every year to make excellent sparkling though. Mike Roberts, who makes Barbara’s wine, won the Decanter award in 2010 for a sparkling wine. We were Mike’s first customer. We still stock some of his stuff."
I ask whether Laithwaites stocks Barbara's sparkling wine?
"She’s too expensive!" Tony laughs.
Image: Le Chai au Quai vineyards in Bordeaux, France