Our story starts in 1830 when 2 brothers, Charles and Joseph Dingwall started a wine and spirits business in London. They were soon joined by another couple of brothers, Richard and Bernard Portal. The company expanded and by 1892, when Arthur Norris joined and brought Lemon Hart Rum with him, the company were already sole proprietors and shippers of Fonseca port and had important concerns in Glenlivet whisky as well as sherry, brandy and French wines.
The business continued to grow, acquiring 2 rum merchants during the Great Depression, selling off their whisky interests at the start of the Second World War and taking in Lamb’s Navy Rum and Red Heart Rum when they were bombed out of their premises. Soon after the war, the 3 companies merged to become United Rum Merchants.
URM was, in turn, folded into Allied Breweries then Allied Lyons and finally Allied Domecq, until in 1993, Philip Portal acquired his ancestor’s business trading name for his own budding wine and spirits shop, Ivy Wines. Philip still runs the business today and has built a team as passionate about wine and spirits as he is.