Of days gone by

Traditionally, young men were apprenticed to a Wine Merchant who, when satisfied that they were competent to practice their trade, made them Freemen. As they became more senior in the Company, they became Liverymen, i.e. they were allowed to wear the Livery of the Company on important occasions. Over the years, methods of entry into the Company have changed and these are outlined below.

Methods of Entry

Application for membership of the Company MUST be by one of the methods outlined below and the candidate MUST satisfy the  qualifying criteria.

In recent times, the main method of joining the Vintners’ Company has become by either Patrimony or Redemption. [See Glossary of Terms]


Whilst ‘Servitude’ is still a method for joining the Company, it has not been used for a number of years as it is felt the rules governing the process, in particular the age restraints, do not lend themselves to the modern day lifestyle of younger people who tend to be still engaged in academic process. 

Instead, a more modern approach was recently considered and the ‘Young Wine Trade Membership Scheme’ was introduced to provide an opportunity for a select few younger people to join the Company.  They must be set on a career in the wine industry and must demonstrate their commitment to the trade as part of the application process.  

To read more about this scheme and the application criteria, click HERE


The Patrimony route to membership of the Vintners’ Company is for sons and daughters of Freemen or Liverymen born after their parent’s admission to the Company.

Candidates should seek admission to the Freedom as soon as possible after attaining the age of 21.  Entry is by ‘right of Patrimony’ and, as part of the application process, candidates must attend an interview before the Membership Committee to determine their suitability to be made an ‘Active’ member of the Freedom.

NB: Adopted sons and daughters of Freemen or Liverymen, providing that their date of birth is after their parent’s admission to the Company, are eligible to join the Company through the Patrimony route, although their entry will be annotated as via “Redemption”. 


This is an entry route for those who do not qualify through Patrimony and is managed by the Membership Committee who will review and assess all applications.  

It is generally reserved for inviting Wine Merchants to join the Company but is flexible enough to cater for all potential, exceptional candidates, regardless of profession and in the overall interests of the Company.

Candidates must be recommended by 4 Liverymen, 2 of whom must be Court Members, and ALL supporters must know the candidate personally.  Entry is not guaranteed.

The Proposer must take the lead in a Redemption application and ensure that all persons involved in the application (seconders & candidate) provide the necessary information to the Membership office.  Only when the application is complete will it be submitted to the Membership Committee for review.

NB: Stepchildren are allowed to apply for entry by Redemption providing they have strong family links. 

Application Process


If you are the son or daughter of a Vintner and feel you qualify for membership under the rules of Patrimony, please contact the Membership Office for instructions on the application process:



If you are a Court member or Liveryman of the Vintners’ Company and would like to propose a candidate for membership by Redemption, please contact the Membership Office for instructions on the process:


Review of Applications

The Membership Committee will review all applications for membership at its September meeting each year.  ONLY completed applications will be presented at this meeting.  

It is therefore required that all applications are completed by end of July so that all is in order in good time before the September meeting.  

Membership Committee may choose to reject an application at the September meeting. 

Candidates who pass this stage of the process will be invited to interview with the Membership Committee.  Following successful interview, Membership Committee will make recommendation to Court and, subject to Court approval, successful candidates will be invited to the next, annual Court of Binding where they will be made a Freeman of the Vintners’ Company.

Candidates who are not able to attend the Court of Binding will be invited to the Court of Binding the following year.