TWE takes on fine wine team

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has unveiled its new Fine Wine team with which it is hoping to push its fine wine credentials.

Focusing on selling wines at £15+ from TWE’s portfolio, the team hopes to make use of wineries that have not previously had much exposure in the UK and also push Australia’s regional message.

The team is led by new fine wine controller Ranulf Sessions (pictured), supported by business managers Mark Davenport and Craig Mitchell. All three have years of experience in the trade in both on- and off-trade and have previously worked at companies such as Diageo, WaverleyTBS and Foster’s before the division of its wine arm.

Nielsen figures for the end of October this year show that there has been growth in the £10+ category in the off-trade with 24% year-on-year growth, with Australian wine the fastest growing segment within that at 61%.

The fine wine team hopes to tap into this trend with Sessions stating that there is “huge potential”, which can be pushed even further with an explanation and understanding of Australian regionality.

It was announced that the fine wine team will be running a tasting early next year to push Australia’s regions and the smaller wineries in TWE’s portfolio that are not often talked about.

Sessions said: “We need to engage customers. We (the team) do understand this market very, very well and we aim to grow our customer account base. At the moment it’s 65 but we’re hoping to double that over next year.

“Relevant marketing to each customer will be the key but of course the ‘purest’ fine wine marketing involves putting wine in the glass.”

Although Penfolds is the best known of TWE’s fine wine portfolio, Sessions also said that for the new list drawn up for the UK at least half of the 200 wines “haven’t been over before or not for a very long time.”

Sessions was keen to stress that: “Dealing at the top end of the market we recognise there is a need to act differently to other parts of the TWE business. It’s about being flexible, hand-selling and understanding the market and its needs.

“We recognise that some of our customers will only purchase one case, whereas others will deal in much larger quantities; we’re flexible enough to meet their needs.”

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