News, Expert Opinions and general chit chat from the world of wine

JN Wine Blog

About us

Who we are:

James Nicholson has been part of the wine scene in Northern Ireland for over 35 years.  Starting out in the restaurant trade, James’ keen interest in wine, combined with an independent spirit, set him on the path which gradually evolved into the JN Wine you see today.

The wholesale side of the business came first.  James was doing what no one else in Ireland was doing at the time; going out to the vineyards and sourcing his own products, only purchasing wines he tasted and felt he could stand over.  It’s a liberating way to do business, but with great freedom comes great responsibility – there is no one to hide behind.  James still spends a lot of time visiting vineyards, developing decades long relationships with some of his longest standing suppliers while sourcing new talent and exciting products.  He’s been in Bordeaux every spring since 1982 for the en primeur campaign too.  The selection of wines you will find in our portfolio is a reflection of the winegrowing world as it is today – each bottle selected by hand and carrying the James Nicholson seal of approval.

These days our premises look a lot smarter and the team has grown, but the ethos remains exactly the same. 

We travel.  We taste.  We sip.  We deliberate.  And then we buy for your drinking pleasure.  Because we are independent and nippy, we can bring in small parcels of really interesting wines you won’t see anywhere else.  No gimmicks, no fuss, just good quality, enjoyable wines.

Each member of the team is a professionally trained, educated, passionate wine drinker and we are here to help in whatever way we can.

What we do:

We sell wine to the public and to businesses.  We supply wines to hundreds of restaurants, bars and hotels all over the island of Ireland.  If you’re in the trade and want to get in touch, email

Our private customers come to visit our strikingly modern shop in Crossgar from all over Ireland whether for a single bottle to give as a gift, wines for a wedding or party, or a bottle to relax over at the end of a busy week.  If a visit to Crossgar is not your thing, you can reach us by phone, by visiting our website or even by the good old fashioned postal service.

Should you find yourself ordering a case of wine from us, our lovely team of friendly drivers travel the length and breadth of NI in our smart vans every week and will deliver the wines to your door free of charge.  Good sense dictates that we entrust your precious cargo to couriers if you live in ROI or GB.

Whether you are looking for a gift, a recommendation for a wine to go with a meal, wines to invest in or some help in expanding your wine drinking horizons we are here to help you find something suitable for your palate and your purse.  On Saturdays you will always find a bottle of something open to try in our tasting room and we run tasting evenings and courses throughout the year for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because we love it and we know you do too.  Keep an eye on our events page to see what’s coming up.

We love what we do and take great pride in our work.  A few people have noticed us and think we do things rather well. Over the years we have picked up a few trinkets and trophies for our hard work as well as some complimentary comments from those in the know. We are the current holders of the International Wine Challenge Regional Wine Merchant of the year award and have landed this prestigious award over 20 times.

JN Wine's entry in the landmark 10th edition of John and Sally McKenna's very popular Irish Food Guide

In his 2012 catalogue, which marked his 35th year as wine merchant, Jim Nicholson noted three principal areas of development that had occurred during his tenure: "incredible improvements in winemaking, the appearance of new exciting wine making countries and regions, and the amount of brilliant wine making...". He, of course, elided the fourth improvement, which is that brilliant wine merchants have made these three seismic changes apparent to, and available for, wine lovers. And no one has acted as that conduit, as that guide to the culture of wine, better than James Nicholson Wines. Nicholsons are stars in every orbit of the wine world – their selection of global wines; the aesthetic of their shop through which they sell the wines; the excellence of the staff at every part of the organisation; and their ability to offer not just bottles of wine, but the passion and culture that lies within every bottle. Superlatives aren’t enough to describe their achievement.


"Taste wines with Jim and he volunteers a story about each and every one, its background, the people and places that produced it. This is a proper questing wine explorer, someone who travels continually, rooting around to find rare gems, rather than buying in vast vats of bland blends. He started trading French wine in the 1970s – 'the days when Mateus was considered sophisticated' – then swiftly took on Australian and Californian wineries in the 1980s. Right now I sense Italian, Spanish and Lebanese wines interest him most."
(Susy Atkins, Sunday Telegraph, January 2013) View original article here Review
Read our review from

Neighbourhood Retailer July 2008 Review
Our review in the summer edition of Neighbourhood Retailer

Recommended by Jancis Robinson as a responsible merchant for the sale of En Primeur wines
Purple Pages,

Featured as one of 18 exceptional wine shops
Jancis Robinson, Financial Times, 12/13 June 2010

Listed as one of the Top 10 wine shops in the UK
Jane MacQuitty, The Times, 3 July 2010