Traders rename day and ask people to raise a glass in memory of loved wine merchant

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The Norwich Lanes community has encouraged people to raise a glass in memory of a popular wine merchant as they locally rename a day after him.

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Damien Cabanis. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Damien Cabanis died aged 49 in Beeston Regis, in north Norfolk, on Sunday, October 25.

Mr Cabanis first opened Les Garrigues, a French wine bar and deli in St John Maddermarket in Norwich, in October 2015.

The popular delicatessen served a range of wines from French vineyards, cheese and charcuterie.

His death shocked customers and fellow business owners in Norwich, and led to tributes which described him as “incredibly generous”.

Now, the Norwich Lanes Association is encouraging people to raise a glass of beaujolais wine to him at 7.30pm on Thursday, November 19.

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It falls on Beaujolais Nouveau Day, a celebration in France held for the first wine of the season and an occasion which Mr Cabanis would mark with events during his time in Norwich.

The association hopes the day will, going forward, become locally known as Damien Cabanis Day.

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Derek Robertson, a Norwich-based wine merchant, said: “Damien was a much liked and loved member of the local community. He brought his own style of hospitality to Norwich and will be sorely missed by friends, family, colleagues in the wine trade and many customers who were made to feel so welcome in his wine bar delicatessen.

“It’s a stark reminder to look out for your neighbours in these difficult times personally and professionally.

“I look forward to raising a glass of Beaujolais nouveau on November 19, a tradition that Damien always took part in, a fitting way to remember a fallen comrade.”

Mr Cabanis, who has two children, was born in Rennes, in Brittany, where he lived until the early 1990s. He first moved to Surrey before later moving to Norwich.

At an inquest opening into his death, his medical cause of death was given as hanging.

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