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Sunday 23 November 2014

Christensen: Enotria could do better

24th June, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

Enotria is “doing well but could do better” according to new chief executive Troy Christensen, who joined the UK wine importer and distributor last month.

Navy strapline

The distributor’s new logo

Speaking to the drinks business yesterday, Christensen, a former Constellation president, said that Enotria had tripled in sales since 2006, but declined in profitability over the last five years.

The company has “been working harder but not smarter” he said, before stating, “and it excites me to walk in and execute a strategy to create value”.

While acknowledging Enotria’s passion for wine, high level of customer service and broad, “creative” portfolio, he said that there was an opportunity to “add value”, and picked out three areas of focus.

The first of these concerns Enotria’s supply chain. “While a lot of our competitors have been offloading their supply chain services, we are a bit different – we want to own the last mile in the supply chain,” he said.

Such control gives Enotria “the flexibility to support our customers” and an important “point of difference” for the wine distributor, according to Christensen.

Troy Christensen

Troy Christensen was president of Constellation Europe and then CEO of Accolade Wines until November 2012

However, he said that there was new technology that could be employed to improve the smooth operation of such a service.

“If someone calls up at 8 in the evening and wants a bottle for tomorrow, then we want to be able to provide that not as an exception but as a normal service,” he said.

His second focus of improvement concerns the promotion of Enotria’s portfolio.

“We are tremendous in Italian wine but we have added a great portfolio to that and we need to get that message across,” he said, pointing out that Enotria has as many French as Italian wines in its portfolio.

Thirdly, Christensen believes Enotria could use its passion for wine to better commercial effect.

“We want to show our customers that we are not just passionate about wine but that we can help their businesses,” he said.

This advantage extends to Enotria’s suppliers too. “We can add value to our suppliers and help them build brands,” he commented.

In particular, he said he didn’t want Enotria to be backed into a position of just “shifting product from A to B”.

Furthermore, while he stressed that he would work hard to put new systems in place, his approach would not be “a cookie-cutter model” and stated: “I want to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit and passion.”

Christensen also told db that he had relocated from the US to the UK to take up the post because Enotria’s majority shareholder, private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners, “has a passion for wine and is willing to invest in the business… so I decided to come back over.”

Also in a discussion with db yesterday, Mark Kermode, commercial director at Enotria said that the company had taken on 400 new wines in the last 18 months, including its first wine from Oregon: The Ribbon Ridge Pinot from Omero.

Kermode pointed out that the demand was growing quickly for New World Pinot Noir, as well as Prosecco, among Enotria’s London on-trade customers.

One Response to “Christensen: Enotria could do better”

  1. Jonathan Cahill says:

    l am surprised that Christensen keeps referring to ‘passion’. Presumably he is not aware that Enotria’s marketing department has banned the use of this word.

    With blinkered thinking like that they obviously need his input in building brands.

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