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Borough Wines launching app as it eyes up online growth

Independent wine shop Borough Wines is to launch an app for consumers that will provide a specialist wine service within its ‘concessions’ stores in other retailers.

Borough Wines permanent Islington shop opened this week
Borough Wines opened its new shop in Islington in May, which includes an on-site micro-distillery

Its Borough Wines Corners business, which relaunched in the Spring, provides farm shop, small chains and upmarket convenience stores with a capsule range of around 40 interesting wines as well as its self-fill kegged house wine, as a ‘shop within a shop’. They are designed to give the host retailers a more “credible” wine offering they might otherwise lack, and extend the company’s reach beyond its London heartland.

But in order to ensure customers can access specialist advice in concessions as they would see in Borough Wines’ own shops, it is rolling out an app that will help consumers select wines by occasion or price.

“We will be able to communicate the wine without having a specialist there,” owner Muriel Chatel told the drinks business. “It will make [buying wine] a very approachable and easy experience.”

The app will launch in a new Borough Wine Corner within Simply Fresh at the University of Surrey in September.

Wholesale now accounts for 15% of the overall business, split between supplying gastro-pubs and the on-trade, and its mini-concession Borough Wine Corners, but Chatel is looking to branch out further after partnering with an Italian wine keg specialist to relaunch its house wine refill concept.

“There are lots of avenues that we haven’t explored yet, like theatres and cinemas – it’s about thinking outside the box and looking at where wine is drunk,” she told db earlier this year, describing it as an “untapped market”.

It helps protect the business and lessen its exposure, she added.

The independent wine specialist is also ramping up its focus on its online offering, admitting this has been on very much been on the back-burner. However, having moved into its own warehouse hub in Leighton a year ago, Chatel said it now had the logistics in place to boost online. It will start this focus with the launch of a new website September.

“Now we are ready to push online sales,” she said.

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