OUR MISSION IS SIMPLE
When in Rome wants to change the way you enjoy wine. Not only is a wine box better value and much better for the environment, but the vacuum tap means you can enjoy a single glass whenever you want it, without fear of wastage.
Many of us in the UK associate box wine with cheap plonk. It’s not that different in Italy. Most Italian city dwellers still buy their wine in bottles.
But in the Italian countryside things are different.
Country folk like to visit their local winery with a refillable container – fill it with wine, take it home, decant and enjoy. It’s how Italian families have been enjoying their wine for centuries.
Our wine experts Andrea and Lorenzo own two wine stores in Milan. Both sell bottles. But more and more of their customers are doing things the rural way. Buying their wine in boxes or refillable bottles.
ROME, MILAN... LONDON
Box wine is fast becoming the way to enjoy a glass of vino in this country.
Some of London’s top wineries now serve quality wine straight from the box – and one forward-thinking bar has even banished the bottle altogether.
Isn’t it time you enjoyed a small piece of dolce vita for yourself?
MADE BY SMALL PRODUCERS
You know how craft beer makers ooze enthusiasm for what they do? It’s the same with these guys. Only they’ve been making beautiful Italian craft wine for generations.
BOXED IN THE VINEYARD
Once the wine is ready, our boxes are filled straight from the vat. You get to choose from two sizes. La Grande contains five litres (over 6 bottles) of wine and La Mezza contains 2.25 litres (3 bottles).
BROUGHT HERE BY TRAIN
Each journey starts in Verona when around 1,800 boxes – equivalent to around 12,000 bottles of wine – begin a seven day journey across Italy, into France and through the Channel Tunnel.
STRAIGHT TO YOU
Once opened wine stays fresh for up to six weeks. La Mezza boxes will fit snugly inside your fridge door. And when you’re done the box can be recycled (we’re working on the bag).
OVER A BILLION REASONS TO DRINK BOXED WINE
We sip our way through 1.2 billion bottles of wine a year, making the UK the world’s leading wine importer.
It’s a booming industry. But not necessarily a sustainable one.
After a single use, around 480 million bottles are tossed into the bin and end their lives on a landfill site somewhere in the UK.
Another 720 million are recycled – but it’s a pretty energy intensive process.
WINE THAT'S KINDER
Because our wine comes from small independent producers – whose families have perfected their craft over generations – it’s less intensively produced and kinder to the land.
Boxed wine is far lighter to transport than bottles (so less emissions) and once you’re done the box can be recycled.
Often referred to as ‘the new Tuscany’, Le Marche wine region sits snugly between the Apennine Mountains and Adriatic Sea in North East Italy.
Based inland from Ancona, Federico Mencaroni is a fourth-generation winemaker who was taught everything he knows by his dear uncle, Nevio Mencaroni, who overcame a wealth of rising pressures from globalisation to preserve this small but beautifully formed vineyard in one of Italy’s most undiscovered wine regions.
Cantina Mencaroni – at just six hectares – is small by modern standards. But, when you consider the entire Le Marche region has only 20,000 hectares of vineyards, six will do nicely thanks!
Every single drop of wine made here is crafted from four lifetimes of wisdom and steeped in good old-fashioned Italian passion and pride.
Federico and his pickers harvest the grapes carefully by hand, lay them gently into picking bins for grading and many months later, once the wine-making process is complete, they box the wine on site and send it to us by train.
‘I’m just a steward of knowledge, passed down from generation to generation,’ says Federico. ‘Each year the grapes are unique and different, and we constantly need to adjust our techniques.
‘And now you have the delight of enjoying it all.’
Having lived in Italy, Rob started When in Rome to put some fun into drinking Italian wine in the UK. Because Italy is fun. It’s where he drank wine without ever discussing body or bouquet.
He’s a wine lover, not an expert and felt he couldn’t be the only one.
Serendipity and a glorious Google search led him to Andrea Marchesi’s wine store in Milan and the rest, as they say, is history.
When he’s not folding wine boxes or paying wine import duty, Rob can be found running across muddy fields near his Cotswold home or fixing Luigi, When in Rome’s Ape (pronounced ah-pay) our beloved but capricious three-wheeled van.
Rob’s favourite wine: Grignolino d’Asti
Why: ‘I fell in love with my wife drinking this wine and still loved her when I stopped. I can’t wait to stock this wine.’
Head of Partnerships
A fully qualified oenologist, Andrea studied wine to dazzlingly high standards before producing his own red in Italy’s Lombardy region.
Sadly, his modest vineyard couldn’t sustain his family’s lifestyle. So they moved to Milan where he and Lorenzo Canali now own two wine shops.
Andrea still dreams of returning to the hills to make vino. In the meantime, you’ll find him selling some of Italy’s most stunning wines – handpicked exclusively by him – to Milan’s movers and shakers.
When in Rome’s foundations rest clearly on Andrea’s buff palate and we couldn’t have found a nicer chap for them to do so.
Andrea’s favourite wine: Sauvignon IGT Venezia Giulia
Why: ‘Because it’s fresh and direct. Unambiguous, you either like it or you don’t. It’s a great wine to drink in good company.’
Lorenzo was a frustrated social worker when Andrea persuaded him to give it all up and sell wine in Milan.
Now they have a store each. Lorenzo’s is neat and tidy. Andrea’s has all the charm of a rambling professor’s study. Despite such contrast appearances, both sell the most awesome wines imaginable in boxes, bottles and refillable containers.
Lorenzo is a self-declared romantic (who looks a bit too much like George Harrison for his own good). When he’s not in the shop, you’ll find him cycling around Milan on a cargo bike delivering vino to happy customers, or falling in love at the drop of a hat with any pretty wine producer who happens to cross his path.
Lorenzo’s favourite wine: Barbera DOC Piemonte
Why: ‘It’s strong, decisive and clear. A no-nonsense, down-to-earth wine that’s simple and immediate.’
Brand & Communications
Before she met Rob and helped him to create the When in Rome brand, Rachel’s love of Italian wine began with prosecco and pretty much ended there too.
Between you and I, she can’t wait until Rob opens his first shop and starts selling prosecco on tap – in When in Rome’s gorgeous refillable bottles.
Until then, she’s happy to ditch the bubbles (most of the time) for When In Rome’s superb tasting vino. Everything else tastes like plonk to her now anyway!
Rachel’s favourite wine – Nero d’Avola IGP Terre Siciliane
Why: ‘I love this wine. Dark, full-bodied and rich – it’s a cuddle in a glass. Goes well with food, friends and a nice cosy fire – enjoy indoors or camping under the stars.
Rob unashamedly declares his love for Luke at least twice a week.
Luke was pivotal in conceiving the look and feel of When in Rome – largely inspired by classic mid-century Italian design (the 1950s to you and I) – and bringing us to life as a modern classic.
His creative work and ideas have graced some of the world’s biggest brands.
As well as lover of Italian design, Luke’s also a lover of Italian food, Italian football, and now (since working here) Italian wine.
Luke’s favourite wine: Beneventano Falanghina IGT
Why: ‘Because it’s so easy to drink. I’ll definitely need a constant supply over the summer months. It’s also the wine served at When in Rome meetings [Ed: Rob only opens wine at work on special occasions, like when Luke’s around].
Ben has a long held love for Italy, having spent many summer holidays with Italian friends. Although his Italian isn’t great these days, he can still order a glass of wine.
Having struck up conversation with a random stranger in the pub, it soon became clear the eccentric gentleman’s passion for running was dull, but his plan to sell boxes of wine from a three-wheeled van was much more exciting.
When he’s not updating this website, you’ll find Ben in the cinema, although he’ll politely ask you not to talk to him once the film starts.
Ben’s favourite wine – Falanghina IGT Beneventano
Why: ‘Because it can be enjoyed as much on a hot summer’s day over a barbecue, as a cold New Year’s Eve with friends. Don’t leave a full box too close to me.’
Without Steve, you almost certainly wouldn’t be browsing this site. Our resident tech-hero brings all our gorgeous wines and loved-up ramblings about them to life and onto your screen .
Steve’s wife lived in Italy for many years and with his quality sunglasses, designer black quiff (not to mention being the best dressed man in the Cotswolds village where When in Rome is based) he could well pass for an Italian himself.
Such rock solid tech credentials – Steve created the first ever virus for Apple devices – would normally put him well out of reach of a humble startup like us, yet so far he’s worked tirelessly for boxed wine alone.
Steve’s favourite wine: Nero d’Avola
Why: ‘My code is like Sicily – distant, intriguing and utterly unfathomable to outsiders.’