Negociants to close as Yalumba joins Fells

Australian winery Yalumba has announced it is to be distributed in the UK by John E Fells from this summer while Negociants UK is to close.

Yalumba Organics RangeStarting from 11 June, Yalumba will join the Fells portfolio and owners the Hill Smith family will become shareholders in the business alongside the Symington and Torres families.

A crucial factor in this move is that Yalumba’s distribution business in the UK, Negociants, is to be wound down with a number of current employees joining Fells.

John E Fells’ managing director, Steve Moody, told the drinks business that Negociants would cease to trade from 10 June and that its managing director, Simon Thorpe, would join Fells as commercial director.

He added that “a number of other appointments” would also be made with members of the Negociants’ team transferring across to Fells in the sales, marketing, finance and admin departments, “as we structure up to take on this increased responsibility.”

He added: “This is a family of some standing and reputation and fits superbly into our offering.

“It adds importance to what Fells is and adds to Fell’s standing as a distributor of family-owned wine.”

Robert Hill Smith commented: “My family and the Yalumba team are excited by this venture with John E Fells and joining such respected wine people as the Symington and Torres families. Our Negociants team has done a wonderful job in the UK since 1990, but the time has come to align our aspirations with a new market approach.

“The Fells list is fabulous and our Yalumba and family estate folio sit comfortably within it. We hope to continue our success across all channels while making further impact on the HORECA channel and building deeper relationships with the independent trade.”

For Fells the inclusion of Yalumba has been described as helping consolidate its position in this market as “leading fine wine importers…of some of the world’s greatest family-owned wine producers.”

Paul Symington added: “When my family originally bought Fells in 1976, none of us envisaged that it would occupy the position that it does today in the UK wine trade. It is with great pride that we now welcome the Hill Smith family into Fells, and we look forward to working with Robert, his family and their wonderful wines in the years to come.”

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