‘Raise a glass to his memory’ - tributes paid to popular wine merchant

Damien Cabanis, who ran Les Garrigues, has died aged 49. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Damien Cabanis, who ran Les Garrigues, has died aged 49. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Tributes have been paid to a wine merchant and businessman, who has been described as a key part of the Norwich Lanes community.

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, who was born in Brittany, first opened Les Garrigues, a French wine bar and deli in St John Maddermarket in Norwich, in October 2015.

The small but popular deli served a range of wines from French vineyards, cheeses and charcuterie.

His death has shocked the city’s independent trading community, with tributes praising his knowledge and enthusiasm for his work.

Jonty Young, marketing manager for the Norwich Lanes Association, said: “Everyone in the Lanes is absolutely devastated to hear this incredibly sad news.

“Damien was a big part of our community for several years and you would always get a great reception at Les Garrigues.

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“Damien had a vision of how cheese and wine should paired and shared and he carried it out to perfection. We’re going to miss him - our thoughts go out to his family.”

Food and wine writer Andy Newman, of PR consultants Newman Associates, said: “I’m shocked and very saddened to hear the news about Damien.

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“I would often visit Les Garrigues, and he would always suggest a new wine for me to try. He was so enthusiastic about the wine and food he served - but above all really welcoming and non-judgmental, whether you were a connoisseur or a complete wine duffer.

“Like all true wine and food lovers, Damien was incredibly generous, and loved sharing his latest wine or cheese discovery with people who shared his enthusiasm.

“I hope all those whose lives he touched will raise a glass to his memory, which seems the most appropriate way to pay tribute to him.”

In 2018, Les Garrigues merged with Louis Deli and after raising more than £14,000 through a crowdfunder relocated to Upper St Giles Street.

The new business opened in spring 2019, but had closed by early 2020.

The inquest gave Mr Cabanis’ medical cause of death as hanging. It was adjourned for a full inquest in January.

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