Company History

/Company History
Company History 2017-05-29T20:48:49+00:00

History of Woodford Bourne

The origins of Woodford Bourne wine & spirits actually began with a French family by the name of Maziere in the year of 1750. They set up a wine, spirits and beer business in Falconers lane which later amalgamated with Woodford Bourne grocery business. The principal product of the time was loose leaf tea which would have been imported from Africa India and China then blended and packaged within Woodford & Co. The onset of the famine led to Mr.Woodford contracting a fever due to his work with the famine stricken poor and ultimately his death in 1847. Following an interval of some years, James Bourne

married John Woodford’s widow, taking control of the business which was renamed Woodford Bourne & Co in 1850. The business traded from two premises one at 5 and 6 Grand Parade and the second at 64/65 Patrick St.

In the late 1860’s James Bourne retired to England leaving James Adams Nicholson in charge of the day to day affairs of the business in Cork.

In 1869 Richard Sainthill of Maziere and Sainthill wine spirits and porter suppliers died leaving instruction that should be the business not be taken on by his heir and namesake his company should be sold to his friends Bourne and Nicholson which brought the wines and spirits concerns together, a commercial partnership that was to remain in place for over the next 100 years.

Records of the company’s wine imports since 1871 were meticulously kept in flowing longhand. Entries continued right up until the 1970’s giving an accurate idea of market trends throughout this time. In total the Woodford Bourne cellars would carry at any one time over 50,000 gallons of choice Cork and Dublin whiskeys, Scotch whiskies, fine French cognac, Jamaican rums and casks of wines sherries and ports all carrying the marks of the principal continental growers.

During the 1880’s the collapse of the Munster bank was the first serious external event to threaten the continued operation of the company. James Adams Nicholson had subscribed on behalf of Woodford Bourne to two issues of Munster Bank stock in 1870 and again in 1880 to a value of £7,152 (€740,000) The bank collapsed in 1885 leaving the bearers with no residual value on their investment. Nicholoson learnt a valuable lesson from this, weathered the storm and shortly after this incident went on to buy out the remainder of the business from Bourne’s widow after his death.



Robert Roberts is an Irish Business with a Rich Heritage in premium award-winning teas and coffees that have been produced in Dublin since 1905.

From here we saw the development of Robert Roberts sales and marketing division with United Biscuits nuts & snacks in 1976 and creating the joint venture manufacturing KP Ireland snack in Dublin.

Shortly after Robert Roberts purchased a Northern Ireland based business, Old Mill Marketing allowing Robert Roberts to operate on an Island of Ireland basis.  It was not until 1988 that the business truly diversified with the acquisition of Woodford Bourne wines, traditionally an republic based business.  Therefore to expand the wine division into Northern Ireland, Woodford Bourne acquired Direct Wine Shipment Wholesale in 2006 to become Woodford Bourne N.Ireland.   Around the same period Robert Roberts sales and marketing division was also expanding the business within Northern Ireland by purchasing Savoury Foods in 2003, expanding their route to market through van sales distribution.