Son pays proud tribute to Sheffield pioneer of wine scene

Eddy Coghlan with his corkscrew collection at the Sheffield Corkscrew Museum
Eddy Coghlan with his corkscrew collection at the Sheffield Corkscrew Museum

A POPULAR ‘bon viveur’ who introduced the people Sheffield to fine wine and food from around the world has died aged 75.

Eddy Coghlan was one of the pioneers of the wine and food scene in Sheffield and founded the city’s first independent off-licence, Wine Shoppen, during the 1970s on Abbeydale Road South, Millhouses.

Born in the Azores, Eddy moved to the UK when his father worked as a decoder in the War Office in London, and moved to Sheffield in 1971 after a spell setting up Heinz foods in Germany.

During that time he and his wife Anne, who lived in Dore, discovered German wine and when they moved to Sheffield they began importing it - initially for their own enjoyment.

Eldest son Andrew said: “Mum worked for a steel company which imported steel from Germany, so they would get a few cases put on the back of the lorries.

“It was a time when Blue Nun and Liebfraumilch were the height of sophistication and more or less the only wines available on the supermarket shelves.

“They realised they were on to something when the lorries were carrying more wine than steel and set up the business in 1977.”

The shop on Abbeydale Road, at the crossroads with Archer Road, was a landmark for city residents.

Andrew said: “They went on to import wine from France, Italy and eventually around the world. They were very ahead of their time.”

The couple were the first to organise wine tastings in the city and the company expanded with Barrels and Bottles in the Wicker Arches - which featured in the movie The Full Monty - Wine Shoppen in Heeley, The Manor House Hotel in Dronfield, and eventually Coghlans Cookery School in Chesterfield.

Andrew said: “My dad was a true gentleman and a real people person, wine fanatic and bon viveur. Spending time with him was always a pleasure and he enhanced the city of Sheffield with his passion for food and wine and helped many of the city’s wine lovers to enjoy tastes they would never have experienced. He’s a loss for the city.”

The Sheffield United fan, who died from heart failure, is survived by Anne, 73, and their three children Andrew, Stefan and Erika.

A celebration mass, to which all are welcome, will be held at Our Lady and St Thomas Church, Meadowhead on Thursday, at 11am.

It will be followed by a private reception at Bramall Lane and burial.