New Staff and Latest News - Latitude Wine & Liquor Merchant

New Staff and Latest News

If we had £1.00 for all the times we’ve been asked “when are you moving?” we’d have enough cash to fund the entire fit out of the new shop. The answer to this question is always a drawn-out and breathy “Aaaapriiiillll…ish”. We’re not complaining about all the questions in any way. The response from you, our loyal and lovely customers, has been phenomenal. We can feel your excitement and its electrifying. We’ve had so many of you offer to help us move that I genuinely think we could form a bucket brigade from Cherry Tree Walk to 46 The Calls and hand ball every bottle along a gargantuan human chain. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold.

Well, I think a long overdue update is in order for you all. Things are moving along nicely (long may that be the case) and as the walls around us in the old shop crumble, the walls in the new shop have been put up. What was a chasm of a room has taken on 3D representation of the floor plan we’ve been staring at for months. You can now visibly see where the stock room, kitchen, office, and loos will be, as well as the large shop and bar area.

Most exciting thing for us little icicles is that the aircon units that have been installed this week. That’s right folk, the shivering, blue lipped wine merchants of Leeds will be a thing of the past. But enough about the jaded wine merchants you already know and love. We’ve got three new, fresh faced, members of Team Latitude to introduce you to! A few weeks back Chris interviewed a barrel load of excellent candidates and whittled them down to three people that we thought were perfect for the job and as a team can help us to deliver the hospitality concept, we want you to experience.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here they are:


Serendipitously, Imogen and I have a very similar employment background. We’ve both worked at Smokestack, Sandinista, and Jake’s Bar & Still Room, three fantastic Leeds institutions. In recent years, whist being the General Manager of the Jake’s Bar, Imogen has gained the title of Whisky Ambassador.

As whisky lovers, this piqued our interest, so we asked her to tell us a bit more about it:

‘A couple of years ago, I was invited to take part in the Whisky Ambassador introductory course as a partnership with Highland Park. At this point in my career, I was more of a bourbon drinker, so I was so excited to learn more about scotch and to see beautiful Orkney! I had an absolutely incredible time when I was there, and learned so much, but I wanted to learn more! So, the next year, I applied for the Advanced Whisky Ambassador course. This was a three-day course in Glasgow. I had such a wonderful time, met some very interesting people, and saw some very beautiful distilleries.

“This course really ignited my passion for scotch. It’s an incredibly versatile and varied a spirit steeped in tradition. Going to different distilleries as part of this course, I fell in love with the way everyone talked about whisky and how it has shaped their lives.’


Naturally the next question was ‘What’s your favourite Whisky?’

Imogen replied ‘My favourite whisky varies depending on my mood. However, I tend to lean for a peated, higher ABV expression. I’m more of a smoky peat lover more so than the medicinal expressions. Sipping wise, I love the Torabhaig Single Malt, the salinity in it just absolutely delicious. However, when it comes to something to mix, you can’t go wrong with the Benriach 12.’

‘What are you most looking forward to about joining Latitude?’ I asked.

‘I’m so excited to expand my knowledge and learn from all of the amazing people at Latitude. I’m also very much looking forward to being able to curate the best cocktails possible for the guests, using all of the products on offer. Creativity is going to go wild!’


Sai Talbot has been running the superb Shears Yard for so many years that we couldn’t quite figure out how long he’s been there. He’s a good friend of the shop and a regular so we happened to know already that one of his favourite pastimes is heading over to Norther Spain to enjoy the finer things in life. I asked him what he loved about this famous wine producing country.

‘Northern Spain. What a place. I was lucky enough to drive around Northern Spain in our camper for two weeks. They do food and drink right. From Basque down to La Rioja and back up to Basque with several stops in between. The seafood and cider in Asturias, the Txuleta (Steak) and big reds in Toloso. Donostia (San Sebastian) for the pintxos and vermouth by the pint. What's not to love. Grazing and drinking from bar to bar. Can't beat it.’

I then asked him what his favourite wine was (an unfair question as I can never answer it myself).

‘Favourite wine? Changes every week. That's the beauty of Latitude. I walk in, get a bottle shoved in my hand followed by "get that in your face" from one of the guys there. Regions I'm unfamiliar with, grapes I've never tried. I am a sucker for an Aussie GSM though...’

And lastly (you’ll spot a theme to the questions here) ‘What are you looking forward to about joining the new Latitude?’

‘I can't bloody wait for the new shop and tasting room to open. It's what Leeds City centre has been missing without even realising it! You're getting a place with 1000s of products, where the staff know every single one of them! Always willing to help, no matter your level of knowledge or budget. They'll find what you're looking for. I can't wait for the public to grab a daiquiri whilst browsing for their evening tipple.’


Jordan is joining us from one of our favourite bars, Rolands. His hospitality and attention to detail has always impressed me, I once told him at lunch time I’d be popping into Rolands for a Guinness after work and when I arrived some six or so hours later my Guinness was waiting to me on the bar, freshly poured. Unsurprisingly, Jordan recently reached attended the global final of the Nikka Perfect Serve competition in San Fransico.

‘Cocktail Competitions are normally, for the most part, staged performances: you spend weeks working on a cocktail for a brand, rehearse a speech to say how much you love the brand & then you go and tell a group of people brought together by the brand how much you enjoy (brand) in (drink).
‘Nikka Perfect Serve isn't like that, and that's what draw me to the comp. Well, that & the fact that Nikka is what first drew me towards Whisky as a category! NPS is all about being thrown into scenarios (some crazier than others) and giving the judges the best bespoke, in-the-moment service you can & that really sums up how I think bar service should be looked at regardless.

‘Winning the UK heat was mind-blowing for me, getting the chance to go to San Francisco & take part in the Global Finals meant I got a glimpse of how people around the world approach service, as well as getting to enjoy the San Fran cocktail & restaurant scene!’
(You’ve probably guessed the next question) ‘What's your favourite cocktail?’

‘Tough one! Usually, I'd say it depends on my mood, but I think my pocket pick will always be a Corpse Reviver #2: Dry Gin, Cocchi Americano, Triple Sec, Lemon Juice, bit of Absinthe on the glass. It's serious but not super boozy, sour but not mouth puckering, and herbal without tasting like grass... Other than that, does a lager and a whiskey shot count?’

‘Can you tell us, Jordan, what are you most excited for about the new Latitude?’
‘Is it nerdy to say the wine selection? I'm definitely looking forward to doubling down on my wine training, but I’m also excited to work in a smaller venue again & have the chance to chat through the menu with people!
‘Also, I'll take any excuse to lay out a cheeseboard.’

So, there you have it, the exceptional new additions to the team. We’re genuinely buzzing to have them on board, and I speak on behalf of everyone at Latitude, old and new, we cannot wait to pour you a glass of wine.