Selected projects

On this page you can read about some of the projects we’re working on. We’re excited about our clients’ fantastic projects and businesses. You can also read a little about Ben’s own ventures on here, too.

Novel Wines, 2016 – present

Novel Wines is a multi-award-winning wine merchant founded by Ben Franks and Gyorgy Zsiga in 2016.

Novel Wines is a double Decanter-winning wine and spirits merchant, crowned ‘Best Specialist Retailer – Central & Eastern Europe’ in 2019 and 2020, and was voted ‘Best Somerset Wine Merchant’ by locals in the Muddy Stilettos Lifestyle Awards in 2018.

The online retailer has over 250 truly unique wines and spirits sourced from all corners of the world. Novel Wines opened its first bricks and mortar shop in November 2019 at 7 Cork Place in Bath and the team host wine, spirits and cider tastings up and down the UK.

Ben says: “I set up Novel Wines in 2016 with Gyorgy Zsiga to make the world of wine more exciting. No-one was selling these unusual, brilliant wines from central and eastern Europe, England & Wales, and Asia. So I thought we would.”

Visit Novel Wines’ website here.

VirtualTastings.co.uk, 2020 – present

VirtualTastings.co.uk is a new project launched by Ben Franks via Novel Wines

Established in 2020 during the global Covid-19 pandemic, VirtualTastings.co.uk is a subsidiary of Novel Wines offering drinks tastings in your own home. Launched off the back of customer demand, the site has had continued success as more wine lovers discover the comfort of tasting events from their sofas.

Ben says: “Even in its early stages, the VirtualTastings.co.uk website is lively and we’re getting requests that vary from family birthday celebrations to corporation team building sessions, with events for anywhere between 3 and 500 households. Welcome to 2020!”

Visit VirtualTastings.co.uk

Canned Wine Co., 2019 – present

Ben Franks is working on the Canned Wine Co. project as a director and head wine buyer.

Canned Wine Co. was founded by Simon Rollings and Ben joined as an early investor and director. He has worked as the company’s head wine buyer since its inception and focuses on introducing unusual, quality grape varieties that work well in can.

The aim is to make premium wine more approachable while delivering it in a format considerably more sustainable than glass.

Ben says: “There’s no excuse for putting bad wine into a can. You can enjoy delicious, premium wines for less in the format without risk as long as the people doing it care about sourcing wines with technical knowledge and using the world’s finest winemakers. That’s exactly what Simon and I do at Canned Wine Co. and that’s why it’s the best for quality on the market right now.”

Visit Canned Wine Co. online here.

Strawbar, PHI Group International, 2018 – present

Strawbar Spirit is one of the product projects Ben is helping build.

Strawbar is a unique eau de vie created exclusively from hand-picked and -sorted wild strawberries grown in the Florina region of northern Greece. Carefully pressed and distilled to make a perfumed, fruit-led eau de vie with a textured, lightly smoky palate. It’s a marvellous digestif or can be used creatively in cocktails.

The spirit comes in three editions so far: a double-distilled ‘Origin 40.0% abv’ brand, a triple-distilled ‘Platinum 45.0% abv’ brand, and a limited release barrel-matured eau de vie ‘Gold’.

It has been received with critical-acclaim by London’s mixology trade.

Ben says: “I haven’t tried anything like Strawbar – ever. Smoky, textured and unbelievably aromatic, it begs bartenders to mess around with it and it seduces spirit drinkers into sipping it. Few spirits can do that as soon as you’ve popped the cork. Strawbar is one of them.”

Read about Strawbar here.

West of England Wine & Spirits School, 2016 – 2019

Ben joined the West of England Wine & Spirits Association as a committee member in 2016 and helped the group bring their marketing into the modern world. He redeveloped the association’s website and was a key player in rebuilding the Association as an education-focused wine and spirits school.

Ben says: “The West of England is home to some of the wine trade’s legends, and many of them were helping to teach the WSET through the West of England Wine School. When you have those kinds of bragging rights, you need to know your USP and use it.”

Food, Drink & Hospitality Ambassador, Federation of Small Businesses (Bath), 2014 – 2018

Before Ben founded Ben Franks Wine, he was working with the Federation of Small Businesses in Bath to support business owners. His role involved lobbying trade and local council groups on behalf of food, drink and hospitality, as well as hosting events and sharing publicity for funding opportunities locally.

Ben says: “Working with the FSB gave me some maturity and experience when it comes to learning how businesses operate in the real world. It was and is vital to know not only the economic and market influences in your business but the political and social ones as well.”