It is one thing wanting to source wines from a particular target country or region, it can be quite the challenge to find the right producer with the right wines for your business and customers. Particularly when looking at a developing wine country for the first time. Like Greece. Here we talk to Antonis Sioulis, managing partner of Reco Exports, that specialises in putting Greek wine producers together with the right overseas partners, about its new bespoke service it hopes to offer UK importers and wine buyers in finding the right Greek producer for their needs.
The wine agency model comes in all different sizes, with a whole range of operating models. From the big national players that have 100s of producers and 1000s of wines on their books, right through to the small independent boutique operators with a specific niche or speciality. But as producers and suppliers, alike, look to offer more personalised and bespoke agency services one of the fastest growing and seemingly successful ways of working is for producers to have a controlling stake in their distributor and work hand in hand with that supplier on more of a partnership basis. Which is very much the way that New Generation Wines has built up its business with a strong core of South African wine producer partners as its key point of difference. Richard Siddle sits down with managing director, James McKenna, to find out how it all works and why he thinks its partnership model offers its customers the best possible service.
The Buyer continues its series talking to some of the keynote speakers taking part in this November’s Wine Future conference taking place in Coimbra, Portugal that hopes to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the global wine industry, by giving the floor to Don St Pierre, co-founder of ASC Fine Wines, one of the most important and influential wine importers, distributors in China. He explains why he thinks there are still so many untapped opportunities in the wine industry, particularly at the fine wine and luxury end of the market.
Recently named as one Europe’s fastest growing companies for the fourth consecutive year by the Financial Times, London-based wine merchants Cru Wine has also just celebrated 10 years in business. Chief executive and entrepreneur, Gregory Swartberg, talks to Helen Arnold about how exceptional customer service is the bedrock of the company’s success, and how it hopes to stand out in the competitive world of fine wine merchants and investment.
Location, location, location – thanks to Channel 4’s Kirstie and Phil we all know the importance of being well situated – and for Adam Ketteringham, one of Corney & Barrow’s account managers in the north of England, the opening of a new office in Leeds represents not only a big step up for him personally, but also for the whole north of England team. The premium wine distributor now has a much-improved, dedicated resource to better serve its existing customers in the north and target new venues and operators with its ever-expanding range of quality producers. Helen Arnold talks to Ketteringham about his career and what he hopes the new office can offer.
The speed of growth across the English wine industry means there are a huge number of vineyards and growers looking for wineries to help make their wine. Which has left a gap in the market for a business like Defined Wine to come in with its new contract winemaking business that can offer a wide range of bespoke winemaking services, through to bottling and helping to create and blend private label and branded wines. Founder, Henry Sugden explains the key role it has to play.
Dan Sharp has not looked back since he first walked into his local Majestic store in Muswell Hill, north London, fresh out of university, to see if they had a job. Fast forward a few years later and after a brief sojourn into the coffee industry, he is back enjoying a career selling wine, now in his new role as head of the south of England for Boutinot. Richard Siddle asks what brought him back into the sector and what he sees as being the key factors a major wine supplier has to get right.
With hundreds of thousands of products available the entire wine, beer, spirits and RTDs categories can be extremely challenging to market and sell, particularly as brands come and go all the time. Hundreds of products might appeal to a specific customer at any given moment. But how can drinks businesses, retailers and online players present the right choice of products to the most relevant customer and consumer groups on every occasion – and how do you scale that choice as your business and target audience grows? Be it across web, mobile and intelligent chat. Here Pam Dillon, chief executive and co-founder of Preferabli, explains how it can answer all those questions.
“We believe that building long term relationships between our producers and customers is the key to success and place a big focus on spending time in market with our producers.” That’s how Andrew Chudley, Davy’s Wine Merchants’ managing director and head wine buyer, describes the company’s strategy that has served the business well for over the last 150 years. He also marks your card on what to expect at its portfolio tasting in London on June 6.
Edinburgh-based subscription wine club Wine52 claims to be a cut above the competition, describing itself as the UK’s largest wine discovery club and offering its members wines from new, emerging regions and countries. Helen Arnold catches up with head wine buyer, Thomas Sanetra, and talks to him about how a business that started out in craft beer – with Beer52 – has taken the same concept into wine to great success.
Earlier this year Pol Roger Portfolio announced the addition of the fabulous wines of famed Barolo producer Luciano Sandrone to its range of fine wines for the UK trade. Built on the success of the eponymous Champagne brand, Pol Roger Portfolio continues to include some of the most celebrated names in wines and spirits. Earlier in the spring The Buyer’s Mike Turner sat down with Pol Roger Portfolio’s James Simpson MW, to discuss the recent additions and future opportunities for this premium drinks’ agency. This was followed a couple of weeks later with a visit to Barolo to meet Barbara Sandrone to discuss their hopes for this exciting new partnership.
With canned wine sales in the UK now close to £15m and an estimated global value of over £160m it is quietly moving from a niche to mainstay of the overall UK wine market, particularly as its sustainability credentials tick so many boxes for businesses looking to hit their environmental and carbon net zero targets. Any growing sector, though, needs pillar brands and businesses to set the standards and show the way forward for smaller players to follow. Which is what the Canned Wine Co now believes it is in a position to do, particularly with last week’s acquisition of The Copper Crew canned wine brand. The Buyer talks to Ben Franks, co-founder and wine buyer for Canned Wine Co about why it decided to buy a rival brand and what he sees as the future for the overall canned wine market.
“In the current climate The Drinks Trust’s work has become increasingly vital and we believe supporting its work is crucial.” That’s the reason why Alliance Wine has pulled together a team from across the business who are willing to put the trainers on, and the miles in, to run the Edinburgh Marathon next month and help raise money for the drinks industry’s charity. Here’s how you can help them make their efforts worthwhile.
It can be hard to describe what potential breakthrough new technology does when it has not existed before. But here goes. Welcome to the Wine & Food Matcher, a new white label software solution for the wine industry that claims it can do three things at once; help consumers choose best matching wines to their food, at home or in restaurants; give restaurants the chance to raise revenues and cut staff costs; and allow distributors and importers to see their on-trade customers wine inventory. Sounds too good to be true? Wineally founder, Ole Nielsen, explains how it works.
As the wine industry’s great and good prepare to descend on Dusseldorf for ProWein ‘23, the team from Lanchester Group, its subsidiaries Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, will be putting the finishing touches to a rebranding, to be exclusively unveiled at the show. Revealed across the group’s biggest ever stand, the new messaging will have the sustainability message front and centre – as you might expect from a business that champions itself as a restless pioneer of renewable energy. David Kermode caught up with Andrew Porton, managing director of Lanchester Wines’ Wine Division ahead of ProWein, to find out what to expect.
Richard Dennis has the kind of CV you wonder where he has managed to pack all his experiences into such a short period of time. A career that has seen him work on both sides of the trading fence – at Sainsbury’s and as a supplier and importer. He is now part of the Watermill Wines team that is working closely with major multiples and operators to source wines that can work primarily for their own label and exclusive ranges, as he explains to Richard Siddle.
South Africa might physically be on other side of the world from the UK, but its spirit is very much alive thanks to the efforts and support of key importers, suppliers, retailers and restaurants that have taken the country to their hearts. Perhaps none more so than Seckford Agencies that has arguably one of the most impressive premium South African ranges built up over the last 20 plus years. Here its sales director, David Cartwright, shares his personal as well as business reasons for wanting South Africa to do well in the UK wine market, and crucially looks at the huge untapped opportunities there are for its producers and brands to gain more market share and sales above £10 as he shares the highlights from a talk given to Vinpro and the South African wine industry in Cape Town last month.
With so much competition amongst the wine importers that already exist, it’s quite a big step to launch a new business into such a crowded market place. But since Alex Green and Matthew Johnson started up Beyond Wines in the middle of Covid-19 they have not looked back with a business model that operates as a smaller, arguably more flexible alternative to the UK’s biggest distributors. It’s all based on striking strategic partnerships with key producers around the world. Here Alex Green explains how it is working with Overhex to source great value wines – and potentially breakthrough brands – from South Africa.
After the trials of Covid 19 and the continuing fallout from Brexit, wine buyers might have hoped for a calmer, quieter 2022. But Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine soon dashed those hopes, combining with post-pandemic inflationary pressures and global shortages to deliver another challenging year. So how did Lanchester Wines’ buying director, Lesley Cook, navigate the storm? And, what does she see heading her way in 2023? She tells David Kermode how she managed to steer a course through it all.
GS Wines is committed to finding exciting, different wines from across Italy to share with its growing network of trade and private customers. As it prepares for its Italian Wine Trade Tasting on October 25 and 26, its co-founder Gordon Stuteley shares his love for blended wines from Italy and why he thinks they are the gift that keep on giving. There will be an opportunity to see the GS Wines portfolio for yourself in London later this month.