The Buyer
Tim Ford on indy sales & Domaine Gayda’s London tasting

Tim Ford on indy sales & Domaine Gayda’s London tasting

For Tim Ford there is nothing like meeting and working with new potential customers that can catch on to what he and his team are looking to do at Domaine Gayda in the Languedoc Roussillon. Which is why he is particularly looking forward to holding a portfolio tasting in London in April and a chance to show the winery’s full range of wines. Here he explains how he hopes to build even stronger contacts with independent wine merchants across the UK and break more into the London restaurant scene.

Richard Siddle
7th February 2022by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: Producer,

The Domaine Gayda tasting takes place at 67 Pall Mall on April 11 between 10.3oam and 4pm. To register email info@domainegayda.com.

For those that don’t know Domaine Gayda can you give us a quick review of the business?

Although we have numerous vineyards across the Languedoc we really base our wines on four distinct terroirs: La Liviniere; Col de La Dona in the Roussillon; La Tour de France above Maury; and Brugairolles, the home and vinification centre.

Most of our wines are organically certified if not under conversion and are all vegan-friendly. We create a diverse range of wines each having its distinct story to tell, but still always identifiably from the same stables. We go from entry level to high end, retailing in the UK from £7.50 to £50.

Domaine Gayda makes a number of different brands from four distinct terroirs across the Languedoc Roussillon

Half our production is sold in France and the rest in over 40 different countries from Brazil to the Philippines. We are a small close team that have worked together since the start in 2003. We are always open to new ideas and constantly evolving our techniques – we feel our journey has just started.

You have built a business that is strong both in France and overseas – why and how have you done that?

We believe in first developing a strong local base for your market. We sell about 60% of our product in France and this has been a spring board for international recognition and global sales, helping us to grow distribution to 40 different countries. You would be surprised how many sommeliers and restaurateurs globally have taken on our wines due to the great reputation and distribution we have in France.

Is having an international strategy but also a strong domestic business been an asset during Covid/lockdowns?

It really has kept our business alive and it has actually gone from strength to strength during Covid. French Cavistes have boomed, as have the main online platforms like Vinatis. When one country’s market was closed down another was re-opening and was on the rebound.

The UK is a key market for you – where have you had most success up to now?

We really have been very happy with work and relationships we have got with regional independent merchants. We see this as our focus moving forward and hope to get better distribution by finding an Independent in each corner of the UK who can represent us and get the product visible in shops and restaurants.

Why have independent wine merchants become so important to you?

Cambridge Wine Merchants is one of a number of regional independent wine merchants that Domaine Gayda have forged long-standing close ties with

Firstly, we all like working with real people. Wine is a person-to-person business and we can get this sort of relationship going working with independents. Some of our merchants have been working with us for more than16 years. A lot have become friends. Everything feeds down into the wine. I have a great image of Stewart Travers of Cambridge Wines tasting our first barrel sample of Villa Mon Rêve back in 2015. I think he walked around half the day with his nose in that glass, saying: “I just can’t drink it, it still is doing so much for me on the nose.”

What other areas of business and channels are you keen to open up and do more business in?

We do some very special projects with some partners whereby we do bespoke cuvees for them, really in a partnership. Some people think this does not build our brand, I get that, but it builds relationships and we like doing it. We also do some very high end wines for partners, they get fully involved in the blending and barrel selection.

You are holding a major tasting of your wines in the UK in April – why are you doing this now?

We are doing a portfolio tasting in 67 Pall Mall for two reasons: first people are still not travelling as much as before so we are bringing our wines to them, so that they can taste new vintages and see all our new products.

Secondly we do not have a national importer and are really looking to find a way into the London restaurant market and to find a few more independents to fill in the areas of the UK that we are not yet strong in. As one says: ” Let’s shake the tree and see what falls out.”

What can we expect to see?

Part of the range of wines in the Domaine Gayda portfolio that each have a different story and brand positioning in the trade

Our full range of 20 different wines with the new vintages. We will be bringing some nice bottles of older Chemin de Moscou and Villa Mon Rêve so people can see the ageing potential and how these wines evolve.

Also, we are launching our new range, Altre Cami, that celebrates our wonderful vineyards of the Roussillon – hence the Catalan name “Another Path.” I really think the quality, style and packaging will excite the market.

Which buyers and parts of the trade are your wines particularly relevant for?

We have never been able to have a suitable offering for the supermarkets or chains, this will always create a problem with the independents so we are not really pursuing this angle.Obviously we would love to get our wines into some of the top restaurants in London, this might not bring volume but it is good for visibility. The independent wine shops do a great job for us, our wines are distinctive enough to be able to create a demand, but, of course, initially it relies on a lot of hand selling until we increase our notoriety in the UK market .

You have a strong branded strategy with key wines for different potential customers – how have you developed your range?

Our ranges have really grown organically as we have learnt more about each one of our vineyards over the last 18 years. New acquisitions and innovative winemaking means we need to create ranges that add value to what we have in the tanks and barrels. Each wine range must tell a story and be relevant, each wine must have integrity and provenance.

  • The Domaine Gayda tasting takes place at 67 Pall Mall on April 11 between 10.3oam and 4pm. To register email info@domainegayda.com.