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Sunday 21 September 2014

Halfwine sets sights on expansion

16th July, 2014 by Simon Howland

Halfwine, a new UK wine operation specialising in half bottles, has launched a crowdfunding project to help it expand and build on this growing trend.

Halfwine imageFollowing in the footsteps of Naked Wines, reported in the drinks business earlier this month, Halfwine is looking to fund expansion by raising £30,000 through crowdfunding operation Crowdcube.

Turnover at Halfwine increased by 50% in 2013 and is forecast to treble in 2014 with the planned cash injection set to  enable the Sussex based operation to invest in stock to meet growing demand through to the end of 2014, improve the website and invest in marketing.

And, like Naked Wines, Halfwine offer perks to investors including one free bottle in 12 on top of the traditional investment returns.

Owner Kevin Dilton-Hill pointed to the current lending climate in the UK as justification for the move noting: “The business is at a stage where it needs a substantial injection of cash and the banks are impossible at the moment.”

With the latest quarterly report on lending from the Bank of England suggesting this won’t be changing anytime soon, what are the options for wine start ups seeking investment?

Dilton-Hill, a qualified chartered accountant, offered an insight.

“You’ve got two options when seeking investment, debt or equity investment,” explaining further, “I don’t believe in borrowing short for the long term so I’ve gone for the equity option.”

According to Dilton-Hill growth is driven by people who “get” the concept, namely people who want to watch how much they drink.

He said: “Women and older guys get us, younger guys don’t, they prefer full bottles or magnums and sometimes pay for it the next day,” adding, “I’ve always liked half bottles and found them hard to find, they’re also a very useful way of controlling my intake.”

Ageing is also improved, especially for reds as they age faster in the smaller format according to Dilton-Hill.

“Size is positive, if you taste my 2005 Bordeaux they’re like a 20 year old, they’re fabulous,” he said, but admitted this can be a negative for certain styles.

“White wines are a problem, white wines that rely on acidity like Sauvignon Blancs age prematurely, it’s a problem.”

But he is confident, with good management, the impact can be negated adding: “I taste my white half bottles between once a month and once a quarter to check development.”

Halfwine source both directly from producers on the continent as well as through established importers in the UK with wines available directly through their website.

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