A SOUTHAMPTON wine merchant is closing after more than 20 years due to the cost of living crisis. 

Cloud Wine in Bedford Place will close its doors for the last time by the end of this month.

The owner of the shop, Gregory Pearce, began the business in 2001 after working in the industry for more than ten years.

The 68-year-old said that the firm will close due to rising energy bills and the current cost of living crisis. 

He said: "It never really came back since lockdown. It's been tough times since then and for a small independent shop we couldn't really carry on.

"The council reintroducing evening parking charges too has really killed us but I try to think positively. Onwards and upwards."

Gregory said that rising energy costs have cut his sales profit by 20 per cent.

He now plans to retire with hopes of "taking it easy".

READ MORE: Southampton butcher's shop closes after 16 years with couple set to retire

He said: "I'm going on to my retirement so I want to go to the gym more hopefully and get fit. I'll probably watch a lot of Netflix but I do hope to go to the gym too." 

The property is set to be taken over by Southampton-based Unity Brewing Co and the space will be used as a craft beer and artisan spirits store.

The staff at Cloud Wine will reportedly stay on.

Martin Chant, 62, who will be moving on with the new business said: "It's a real shame that Cloud Wine is closing but I am glad to be carrying on here with the new shop.

"With the recession, people do have to cut something out and wine isn't essential but it is still a shame." 

Jimmy Hatherley, Founder & Head Brewer at Unity Brewing Co said: "We're really excited to be carrying on 45 Bedford Place's over 100-year history as a bottle shop.

"We will be reopening it towards the end of October as the Unity Bottleshop and Tasting Room. 

"We will be doing a simple refit just to make room for more fridges and several tables for on-site drinking and will be keeping on all staff.

"So we hope it will retain some of the character people love about Cloud Wine. 

"We will be stocking over 150 different craft beers, 60 different organic and natural wines, fine cider, local spirits and of course lots of Unity beers.

"Hopefully filling a gap left by the sad closure of Bitter Virtue - Southampton's original and only specialist beer shop."

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't just take my word for it - subscribe today.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by searching Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents on Facebook

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated group by searching Hampshire Court and Crime News on Facebook