DB Awards 2016: a report on the winners

Retail Buying Team of the Year

Nick Room Waitrose

Nick Room, Waitrose wine buyer

Winner: Waitrose

Described as a “real team” by judges, Waitrose’s buying team is comprised of four MWs (and one in training), led by one of the most respected buyers in the business – Pierpaolo Petrassi MW.

The team has long been at the cutting edge of English wine, expanding its range in the past year to become one of the UK’s biggest supermarket retailers of English wine, which was described by our judges as a “smart commercial decision”. Special attention has also been paid to extending its beer range, demonstrating the team’s ability to tap into and capitalise on emerging trends using their collective understanding of the UK consumer habits and knowledge of the drinks industry.

The team is particularly adept at managing the buying process from producer to shelf, with buyers selecting, blending, labelling and pricing wines personally without the help of product developers or external negotiators. Products are well supported in store with a range of effective in-store promotions and customer-led marketing, including customer events and in-store tastings.

Judges commended the team’s high level of product knowledge and professionalism, which has earned it a great deal of respect within the trade.

Hedonism buying team

Alistair Viner and Richard Ellis (right)

Special commendation: Hedonism Wines

Curated by a team of just three, judges were impressed by Hedonism Wine’s ability to create a flagship shop that has grown to become a worldwide destination for luxury wines and spirits.

Based in Mayfair, Hedonism’s buying team includes Alistair Viner, head buyer, and Richard Ellis, spirits buyer. Together they have curated a vast collection of wine and spirits and continue to add new lines, track down rare bottles on request and refresh successful lines, all while hosting numerous tastings in store. In the process, the duo has shown the UK wine trade what can be achieved within the independent retail sector. “If anyone want to see how to do a wine shop properly, visit Hedonism Wines,” commented one judge.

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