The Buyer
Beyond Wines' “statement” move with Familia Martinez Zabala

Beyond Wines' “statement” move with Familia Martinez Zabala

Beyond Wines has come a long way in less than four years establishing partnerships with major producers in key wine countries capable of serving all channels of the UK wine market. But it says its new link up with Spain’s Familia Martinez Zabala is “its most significant statement yet” and demonstrates not just its ambition, but its ability to work with some of the word’s biggest wine producers. Alex Green explains what the partnership can offer its UK customers.

Richard Siddle
3rd June 2024by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: Supplier,

You have signed a partnership with Familia Martinez Zabala (FMZ)- how did this come about and why are you so keen to bring them into the business?

It came about, as all the best things in life do, by chance. We met them at ProWein after a different brand owner from Spain had double booked themselves. After sitting down with Rocio [Muñoz Marín], who we have known from past jobs, it became clear that there was a mutual desire to work together.

We have always made it clear that Beyond Wines want to work with brilliant producer partners who come with a point of difference and don’t stand on the toes of anything else we are doing, either as an agent or brand owner. FMZ have six wineries from four of the key wine regions of Spain, and have the ability and expertise to create and build brands for both the on and off trades.

For those that don't FMZ - can you tell us about them and what they offer?

Bodegas Faustino is part of Familia Martinez Zabala

Familia Martinez Zabala are the family-owned Spanish giant, best known for Bodega Faustino in Rioja. Whilst we aren’t focussing on this winery, its heritage and worldwide commercial success certainly add value and credibility to everything that the wider company does. FMZ own prestigious wineries such as Campillo in Rioja and Portia in Ribera del Duero, as well as other wineries spanning Rioja, Navarra and La Mancha.

What are your immediate plans to introduce them to your portfolio and what are the target channels of the trade you will be looking to sell into?

As a senior team, we like to ensure that each brand within a producer’s portfolio has a channel that we think it will work best in. At the same time, being flexible within that framework is so important and is one of the reasons we have had success as a fledgling business. One thing we would not entertain, though, is upsetting a customer or supply partner by opting to make a quick buck by selling a set of products to a conflicting, or ‘bad fit’ customer.

We work closely with customers in the national on and off trades, wholesale and convenience, regional wholesalers and brewers. In fact, we operate everywhere that isn’t the independent trade.

Would it be fair to say FMZ offer a one stop shop for many aspects of Spain as they cover different regions, styles, price points and branded wine?

Yes absolutely, a good example of this is in Rioja, where Faustino is their main brand, Campillo offers a high end premium solution, and Marques de Vitoria is there with incredible value for money and a solution-led business model. All within a few miles of each other.

You say “this is the most significant statement yet as to your intentions to become the go-to solution provider for wine in the UK” - why is it so important?

The Beyond Wines team and some of its partners at last month's London Wine Fair

We have made some exciting announcements and partnerships since our beginnings in the autumn of 2020, and FMZ is the latest one. Its particularly significant because of their size and stature, and them choosing to work with Beyond Wines, we believe, will give customers and producers alike added confidence to come and check us out as we continue our growth journey.

Have you been looking for a Spanish partner of this scale for some time?

We have been on the look out for great solutions from every major and diverse and interesting wine producing country. We committed to ourselves that we would place a limit of a maximum of eight strategic partners (those suppliers whose products we actively pursue listings for). Whilst we have the size of team that we do now, because we have a strong feeling that each partner should get our attention and drive, and by trying to take on too many we will dilute our offer and success.

What do you think they see in Beyond Wines in wanting to work with you?

A hungry partner with the know-how to make things happen in the UK. With a combined 60+ years at the sharp end of the UK wine trade, the three directors at Beyond Wines (Matt Johnson, Alex Green and Stuart Bond) have the ideas and contacts to sell wine for our partners.

For those that don’t know the rest of your range or the business - can you sum up your business model?

We are part brand owner, part UK agent. Starting in September 2020, Beyond Wines is a team of nine people from a range of backgrounds. We look to innovate and do things differently to the norm, whether that be in creating brands built on trends from outside of wine, or build revenue streams away from the linear buy/sell model, we want to be known as people that make things happen for our customers and suppliers. We have a ‘say yes’ attitude, and work in the background to make things work for all stakeholders.

What other agency partners do you have - and why have you selected them?

Romania's powerhouse Cramele Recas has been a key part in Beyond Wines early success

It all started with our long-standing relationship with Cramele Recas in Romania. We have a unique model with them whereby we are agents for them for key businesses such as Matthew Clark and Ocado, and we are also their direct UK office. This would be a long article if I named each of our brilliant partners and why we work with them, but I’ll take a moment to highlight Overhex, who were the first producer to sign up with Beyond Wines, leaving a much more established UK business in order to do so. Since that time, we have collaboratively built several brands with them, including the soon to launch Unwined, as well as won a major tender for Unity (Bidfood). Our thanks and gratitude will always go to Gerhard and Lise for their trust, patience and support.

What else can we expect from the business over the next 18 months?

Major launches in both on and off trades will continue to come, both for agency business and brands that we own. We are working hard to establish ourselves on the UK wine map! However, we will be looking to have fun at every possible opportunity too.

* You can find out more about Beyond Wines here.

* You can find out more about Familia Martinez Zabala at its website here.

* Beyond Wines is a commercial partner of The Buyer.