About the Company


Our rich history

The Vintners' Company, with its first Charter in 1363, is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City  of London. With its origins steeped in the history of the City of London and the import, regulation and sale of wine, the Company maintains strong links with the UK Wine Trade, with Vintners' Hall known as the Trade's "spiritual home". With its trade, social, charitable and educational interests, the Company continues to play an important role in the 21st century.

Although the social and economic traditions that gave birth to the Vintners’ Company have long since been overtaken by the development of industry and commerce, the Company continues to flourish. The Company has succeeded in forging a new and valuable role for itself as an integral part of the wine trade in twenty-first century Britain, while at the same time proudly upholding the traditions that made it great in medieval London. The twentieth century was marked by a steady progress towards the Company’s renewed interest in and support for its trade, culminating in the granting of a new Charter on the 20th August 1973.

The 1973 Royal Charter

This Charter authorised the Company to set up the Wine Standards Board to which the Government had delegated certain responsibilities for enforcing the E.U. wine laws.

The Wine Standards Board transferred to the Food Standards Agency in 2006 and the Company’s association with it ceased. In 2006 the Company began an association with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Naturally, the Company’s interest in its trade does not end there. Having been instrumental in setting up both the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Company devotes a proportion of its resources to furthering wine education.

In 2007, the Company provided funds for the “Vintners’ Room” as part of the Wine Studies Centre at Plumpton College in East Sussex, which now has its own Wine Studies Degree.

In addition, it has long supported two Schools in Stepney.  This support includes Arts Bursaries.

Over and above these educational projects, the Company also plays its part in donating sizeable sums to a wide range of London-based charities, especially those concerned with alcohol abuse.  See the Charity section of this site for more information.

Tradition, however, is not forgotten and swans play a part in Company life, not only when they are marked during the Swan Upping week in July but also in the support given to swan sanctuaries on the Thames.

Vintners’ Hall also plays host not only to the Company’s social occasions but also to a number of charitable fund-raising events, other Livery Company events and a large number of corporate and private events.