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Ginuary… Dry January with a twist! Check out our gins to enjoy this Ginuary.

Sir Ian Botham & Bob Willis

Botham Merrill Willis | McLaren Vale, Australia | Cricket

Bob Willis

It is is with great sadness that we at Sporting Wine Club learnt of the passing of Bob Willis after a long illness. Apart from his legendary status as one of England’s best ever cricketers, he was also a commentator with an impossibly dry sense of humour. We got to know him well over the years and most latterly with Ian Botham alongside him as the originators of the Botham Merrill Willis (BMW) wine vintages.

Bob and Ian were huge supporters of Sporting Wine Club in our very early days, and came along to a number of our events. We have been honoured to represent them in the wine world.

Bob, you will be sorely missed by us all, in everything that you represented inside and outside sport, and we will always remember you.

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Botham Merrill Willis

To say that Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham and Bob Willis are two of England’s all-time cricketing greats is a given. Less well known, is the fact that, in conjunction with international award-winning winemaker Geoff Merrill, they produced three excellent wines from McClaren Vale in Australia, a country against which they enjoyed some of their greatest cricketing triumphs. Having known Beefy and Bob for years, it has, and continues to be, a privilege to represent their beloved wine brand.

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The Wine
The ‘Botham Merrill Willis’ (BMW) trio were brought together by a mutual passion for their respective professions, two legendary cricketers and one award-winning winemaker, during England’s tour of Australia in 1978. Since then a lasting friendship between Ian Botham, Bob Willis and Geoff Merrill has developed over many bottles opened and balls bowled.

Mount Hurtle Winery is located in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Nestled in four acres of vineyards and landscaped gardens, it is hard to believe that when Geoff purchased the winery in 1985 it was a derelict building; dilapidated and used as a stable for many years. It required two years of vision, love and hard work on the part of Geoff and his supporters to restore the winery to its former glory.

While retaining an almost Tuscan charm, the original winery and the 1500 square meter barrel maturation cellar, completed in 1998, now perfectly copes with the rigours of modern day winemaking.

All three wines have been individually selected and provide the perfect accompaniment to a day out, an evening in or even a day’s cricket! Their Cabernet Sauvignon recently received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in 2016 Wine Merchant Top 100.

Sporting Connection

With 708 Test wickets and 6,040 runs between them, Bob Willis and Sir Ian Botham feature in any conversation about England’s greatest bowler and allrounder of all time. Almost as legendary as their on field deeds are the drinking tales of tours past and having known Beefy and Bob for years, we really are so thrilled to be working with them and spreading the word about their exciting wine venture.

After all, the ‘Botham Merril Willis’ story epitomises all the values the Sporting Wine Club hold dear; three great friends, three wonderful wines, one fantastic sport and countless stories.

What the winemaker says

Beefy and I are delighted to be partnering up with the Sporting Wine Club. We also believe in bringing together our wines with sport and friendship which is at the heart of the Sporting Wine Club concept. We look forward to a long and successful innings with them!

Bob Willis

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