Nyetimber banned at The Savoy

Revered English sparkling wine Nyetimber has been blacklisted by The Savoy after its owner, Eric Heerema, allegedly smashed glasses and insulted bar staff at a drinks reception.

Nyetimber owner Eric Heerema (right) with foreign secretary Boris Johnson

As reported by The Times, Dutch tycoon Heerema reportedly “flew into a rage, smashing glasses and insulting bar staff” at an event at the Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly, London.

The 56-year-old is alleged to have “swept a table full of Savoy-branded glasses to the floor and shouted at a bartender” during the drinks reception.

The Times reports that Heerema’s “appalling behaviour” prompted the head of food and drink at The Savoy to write to Nyetimber ceasing business with the estate.

Former Nyetimber head of sales James Mason told a tribunal he was unfairly dismissed from the company

Details of the incident emerged during an employment tribunal in London yesterday in which Nyetimber’s former head of sales, James Mason, claimed that his abrupt dismissal from the wine estate last July was a breach of contract.

Mason, who is now head of sales at The Cotswolds Distillery, told the tribunal that he was unfairly sacked after his relationship with Heerema turned sour.

Heerema fired Mason for gross misconduct and accused him of being “lazy, incompetent and lying” in his handling of a major order.

The Times reports that Mason was being paid £127,000 a year by Nyetimber, having joined the company from a seven-year stint at Moët Hennessy, where he worked his way up to the role of international business development manager.

Mason told the tribunal that in the 20 months he worked for Nyetimber, 30 people out of a workforce of 59 had either resigned or had been dismissed.

Heerema and his 29-year-old Scottish wife Hannah own the West Sussex estate but have lived in Monaco since April 2015.

Despite Heerema investing heavily in the company, Nyetimber registered a loss of £2.8 million in its 2015 accounts.

A spokesperson for The Savoy confirmed that Nyetimber is no longer on its wine list.

A spokesperson for Nyetimber said the company was unable to comment as the tribunal is ongoing but that it would provide a statement in due course once the tribunal has come to an end.

9 Responses to “Nyetimber banned at The Savoy”

  1. Pat says:

    Great product so shame it has bad press

  2. Josh says:

    Sounds like a real charming fellow. His pricing is pretty outrageous as well. Wines easily passed over – it’s a big wine world out there so support those who make good wine and are good people as well. Pretty simple, isn’t it.

  3. Dave Roles says:

    Nothing changes

  4. Titia Boxma says:

    I Think it is Erik Heerema and not Hereema.

  5. John McGeehan says:

    It’s the salesperson who worked so hard to get that listing, that I feel for. What a huge PR disaster.

  6. julien says:

    Good for the Savoy, I’m delighted they protect their staff. TBH I’ve found from past business relationships that the Management at Nyetimber to be absolutely appalling and very misguided in terms of business. This fantastic estate should be left in the hands of real wines trade Professionals who know what they are doing. Still, I fell for Heerema who’s invested huge amonts over many years but still can’t see a return, but to be fair they ought to learn from their mistakes and adapt to the reality of international markets and the way the trade actually really works.

  7. Ww says:

    It’s the staff that work really hard to try and push this wonderful wine that I feel for. Nyetimber has incredible provenance and is a great flagship brand for the English wine trade in general. The wines are gorgeous and the branding is well deserved designed and consistent. It’s sad to see a product with such potential suffer such turbulent times !

  8. Ex Nyetimber person says:

    I cannot believe it took this long for someone to take Heerema to task. He is an awful man who has no idea about a business or how to manage people. I had a 4 year involvement with this business. Nyetimber is a fantastic product and it has had some truly fabulous staff, who have been abused by this poor excuse of a man. I witnessed some of Heerema’s truly outrageous behaviour in my time. Such a shame that what should be an amazing success is being ruined by a bored millionaire trying to find a reason to justify his existence with this vanity project. Well done, James Mason

  9. Adrian Leeson says:

    127k a year for a head of sales role in the wine trade? That’s the most eye popping piece of the article..

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