Top drinks supplier hook-ups: August-September
Seresin Estate x Enotria&Coe
In August it was announced that Seresin Estate, the Marlborough winery owned by cinematographer Michael Seresin, will move its UK distribution from Louis Latour to Enotria&Co next year.
Having worked with Louis Latour Agencies since 2016, from February 2020 Enotria&Co will handle the on and off-trade distribution of the Seresin range in the UK.
The move comes as Seresin seeks to both raise awareness and grow the distribution of its organic and biodynamic wines in Britain.
“We are hugely grateful to our colleagues at Louis Latour for their support and hard work, but now seek to grow awareness and distribution in one of the most important and influential markets for premium New Zealand wines,” Michael Seresin said.
“We are excited to work with the team at Enotria&Coe and believe they are right to capitalise on the increasing desire for premium organic and biodynamic wines, and that Seresin will strike a chord with those who are making discerning drinking choices based on provenance and regionality,” he added.
Harriet Kininmonth, director of buying for Enotria&Coe added: “Seresin is a fantastic addition to the Enotria&Coe stable; we can’t wait to share the wines and stories of this distinctive estate with our customers.
“These exceptional wines speak to the growing trend for all things organic, and we’ll be working with our extensive customer network to grow their sales and their fan base.”
Cheval des Andes x La Place
This month the drinks business reported that Cheval des Andes, a joint project between St Emilion’s Cheval Blanc and LVMH’s Terrazas de los Andes in Luján de Cuyo, was to be sold via La Place de Bordeaux from this month.
Speaking to the drinks business, Pierre Lurton, president Cheval des Andes and Château Cheval Blanc, said that after 20 years of evolution, Cheval des Andes had the “maturity” to join “its big brother Cheval Blanc by being distributed through its historic channel: La Place de Bordeaux”.
“In addition, our customers – distributors, importers, retailers, cellar masters, sommeliers and in short, wine lovers – are the same for these two wines, so it’s logical to harmonise their distribution,” he said. “For many years La Place de Bordeaux has successfully shown its ability to distribute icons from all over the world.”
Indeed New World wines from the likes of Argentina’s Catena Zapata, Francis Ford Coppola’s Napa Valley winery Inglenook, and Napa Valley winery Joseph Phelps, have all joined La Place within the past year.
Cheval des Andes, which produces only one wine from its 47-hectare estate, will be releasing its 2016 vintage through merchants in La Place this month.
Lurton believes the move will help his estates “gain consistency and clarity”.
“We believe that Cheval des Andes and Cheval Blanc share the same work philosophy and the same convictions,” he said. “It’s therefore obvious that by being distributed through the same channel, our message and the exchanges we have with the market can only gain consistency and clarity.”
“Moreover, as a “cru”, Cheval des Andes displays differences in balance, quantity and identity in each different vintage. The vintage effect is well understood by the knowledgeable Place.
“So that’s what we expect from La Place de Bordeaux: the ability to spread our DNA to wine lovers from around the world.”
Les 14 Quelles x Jeroboams
Last month it was announced that Hollywood actor John Malkovich’s wine range, made from grapes grown at his home in Provence, was to be taken on in the UK by fine wine merchant Jeroboams.
Malkovich and his longterm partner, Nicole Peyran, first planted vines at their farmhouse in the Vaucluse region in south-east France in 2008, and produced their first vintage in 2011.
Unusually for Provence, Malkovich’s organic estate is planted at a low density with four hectares of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon on deep clay soils on the site of an ancient lake.
The In the Line of Fire star produces five wines under the Les Quelles de la Coste label – LQLC for short, including a Cabernet rosé, a Pinot Noir and an audacious blend of Cabernet and Pinot called Les 14 Quelles, of which just 600 bottles are made a year.
The three-tier range starts at £14.95 for the rosé and ‘second’ wine Les 7 Quelles, with the single varietal Cabernet and Pinot priced at £24.95, and top drop Les 14 Quelles 2017, which will go on sale at Jeroboams in October, retailing at £45 a bottle.
Corra Wines x James Hocking Wine
In August, Celia Welch, the winemaker responsible for cult California Cabernet Scarecrow, announced she was to sell her Corra label in the UK for the first time through James Hocking Wine.
Welch founded Corra Wines, named after the Celtic goddess of prophecy, in 2004. She produces three Cabernets under the label, including two single vineyard expressions.
The grapes that go into the wines hail from four vineyards: two on the western side of Napa’s Oaklands and Rutherford, and two on the steep eastern slopes of Pritchard Hill.
To retain the vineyards’ personality, Welch picks earlier than many in Napa. Grapes are hand harvested and plots are fermented individually and kept on their skins for a month, then gently pressed and transferred to 70% new French oak for around 22 months. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration.
They will be available on allocation in three bottle cases through boutique California wine specialist James Hocking Wine. The 2016 vintage has an RRP of £123 a bottle.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Celia’s wines for many years, so am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent these stunning wines for their UK market launch.
“Despite currency fluctuations and economic uncertainty, the market for top-end Californian wines remains extremely buoyant in London.
“The last couple of years have seen significant increase in demand for small volume, +£100 bottles, which is largely coming from serious wine collectors choosing Napa Cabs over their Bordeaux counterparts,” said Hocking, who also brings Welch’s cult California Cabernet Scarecrow into the UK.
Launched in 2006, Scrarecrow’s debut 2003 vintage, made from old vine Cabernet grown on a 10-hectare plot in Rutherford, was given 98 points by Robert Parker – a feat only bettered by Screaming Eagle.
James Hocking Wine will also import Rewa Vineyards, a small Napa Valley estate with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, for which Welch is winemaker,
Benchmark Drinks x Fecovita
Last month, Benchmark Drinks, which distributes Sir Ian Botham and Graham Norton’s wines in the UK, was named as the exclusive UK distributor for Argentine wine giant Fecovita.
Formed of 29 winemaking co-operatives across Mendoza, Fecovita is the largest wine producer in Argentina and tenth largest wine company in the world. With roots dating back to 1885, the company is formed of 5,000 grape growers with 25,000 hectares of vineyards.
Benchmark Drinks has been appointed as the exclusive agent and distributor for Fecovita’s bulk and branded wines in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
“The appointment of Benchmark Drinks allows us to deliver our strategy of providing UK retailers with a complete portfolio solution of own-label, exclusive label and branded Argentinean wines,” said Fecovita’s CEO, Juan Angel Rodriguez.
Paul Schaafsma, managing director of Benchmark, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Fecovita. Given the company’s incredible history and success, its size and scale and its strong desire to grow internationally, we are confident we offer a highly competitive proposition to UK retailers”.
Schaafsma has already struck a deal with one of the major supermarkets to switch its own-label Argentine wines to Fecovita.
“Our collaboration with Fecovita will create some interesting dynamism in terms of value for money for consumers when it comes to Argentine wines. There hasn’t been a huge amount of competition so far in that sphere,” Schaafsma said.
“Domestic consumption of wine in Argentina is falling, so producers are increasingly seeking to sell their wines abroad and are really pushing their exports in the UK and Europe.
“All of the major retailers are increasingly their space for South American wines off the back of the ongoing popularity of Malbec,” he added.
East Meets West Fine Wines x Edmond de Rothschild Heritage
This month East Meets West Fine Wines (EMW) was appointed as the exclusive importer for Edmond de Rothschild Heritage in mainland China.
The partnership will see EDR’s three Bordeaux properties, Château Clarke, Château Malmaison and Château des Laurets, distributed by EMW in China from this month.
Edouard Duval, EMW Fine Wines’ CEO, said: “We’re very proud to have Edmond de Rothschild Heritage Bordeaux properties join EMW’s portfolio of top quality family and estate wines. The Rothschild family represents the pinnacle of quality and passion for wine.
“Both the EDRH Group and EMW share the same vision of building business with a long-term perspective and we look forward to growing together in a solid and steady way. We are excited to develop the Chinese market with wines that express luxury, lifestyle, and the spirit of one of the most inspirational families in the wine world.”
Boris Bréau, managing director of Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild, added: “Our belief in East Meets West is based on their thorough understanding of the origins, logistics and storage of wine. EMW teams also demonstrate great professionalism through their quality events and high-end distribution network.”
GinKing x Plume Ridge
The agreement will see its lower-alcohol products stocked in around 350 Cost Plus World Market stores across the US and it’s expected to increase the brand’s annual turnover by 10% to £1 million (US$1.24m) by the end of the fiscal year.
“The recent US deal is a really exciting step for us on our exporting journey,” said John Worontschak, managing director at GinKing. “Being a very young company, our turnover is always increasing, and exports are an integral part of this growth, currently accounting for 12% of total sales.”
GinKing, a sparkling alcoholic beverage that blends wine sourced from vineyards in the south of England and London Dry gin, launched in 2017. Its team made contact with its US partner after receiving a grant from the Department for International Trade (DIT), enabling it to attend the ProWein trade show in Germany.
“The UK ‘ginaissance’ is booming with companies like Gin King driving its success and capitalising on the global demand for quality British-made alcohol,” said Liz Truss, secretary of state for international trade.
“Distillers across the country should be grasping these international opportunities and showing the rest of the world that the UK is ready to trade.”
In the UK, Ginking is sold in Tesco, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer as well as through specialist retailers such as Fortnum & Mason.
Sales this year will be between 500,000 to 1 million units, according to Worontschak, who said the business was looking to “build that up quite rapidly”.
“We have the facilities to upscale to as many million bottles as we want”, he said, adding, however, that production of the original English variant would remain limited owing to the volume of English wine available.
Halewood Wines & Spirits x Penderyn
Welsh distillery Penderyn announced this month that it was partnering with Halewood Wines & Spirits on a new distribution deal to cover England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Penderyn will continue to distribute their own products within Wales as well as within the grocery channel.
Stephen Davies, CEO of Penderyn, said: “We are very excited by this partnership and look forward to building a strong relationship with Halewood over the coming years. Penderyn whiskies are now available in over 40 countries, but the domestic market remains vitally important and partnering with Halewood will ensure that our products have an even greater visibility within the UK.”
Blair Sterrick, agency brand manager, Halewood Wines and Spirits said: “We are really looking forward to the Penderyn brands joining the Halewood portfolio and believe that they will complement the Aber Falls range that we produce in North Wales. Welsh people are notoriously patriotic and we are delighted to showcase the best artisanal Welsh spirits that they can be extremely proud of.”
Halewood will initially distribute Penderyn’s Gold and Dragon ranges of single malt whiskies as well as its Brecon and Botanicals gins, Five vodka and Merlyn Cream Liqueur.
Marqués de Riscal x Ellis Wines
UK importer and distributor Ellis Wines announced a distribution agreement with Rioja and Rueda producer Marqués de Riscal. Covering England and Wales, the collaboration takes effect immediately.
Marqués de Riscal was founded in Elciego (Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga and remains family-owned and run. It was one of the first wineries that pioneered Bordeaux winemaking techniques in Rioja and helped put the Rueda DO on the winemaking map in the 1970s.
The producer also collaborated with Frank Gehry on its striking winery called the ‘City of Wine’ which also houses a hotel and spa.
Ellis Wines’ director, James Ellis, commented: “We are extremely pleased to work with such a prestigious producer not only with a reputation for producing the highest quality wines but like us, a company which is family-owned and run. Working with the portfolio is an exciting prospect and we look forward to building the business in this market.”
Windsor Great Park x Bordeaux Liquid Gold
Last month, Direct Wines Production announced the appointment of Singapore-based fine wine merchant Bordeaux Liquid Gold as the exclusive distributor of Windsor Great Park Vineyard in Malaysia.
Windsor Great Park Vineyard produces wine from a 3-hectare site in the Windsor Great Park and is a collaboration between DWP and the Royal Family.
Planted in 2011, the vineyard is managed by tenant farmers, with the inaugural 2013 vintage released in 2016 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
Bordeaux Liquid Gold will now take over distribution in Malaysia starting with the 2015 vintage. This follows news that exports of English wine doubled in 2018, with 8% of the total volume exported in 2018 compared to 4% in 2017.
Windsor Great Park is vinified at Ridgeview in East Sussex.
Iain Muggoch, general manager of DWP, commented: “We are extremely pleased to announce this new partnership with Bordeaux Liquid Gold in Malaysia. With this appointment, Windsor Great Park Vineyard joins a stellar portfolio including Paul Jaboulet Aîné, No. 3 d’Angélus, Clarendelle by Haut-Brion, Champagne Barons de Rothschild and many more. We are excited about this collaboration and we look forward to bringing this iconic English wine to Malaysia’s discerning wine lovers.”
Julian Poh, CEO of Bordeaux Liquid Gold, added: “We would like our clients in Malaysia to experience the emotion and luxury of this beautiful sparkling wine from Windsor Great Park Vineyard.”
DWP is the production arm of Laithwaite’s Direct Wines group.
Mulderbosch Vineyards x Hallgarten & Novum
This month UK wine importer Hallgarten & Novum announced the addition of South Africa’s Mulderbosch Vineyards to its portfolio. Founded in 1989, Mulderbosch has built a reputation as a specialist Chenin Blanc producer with its wines now available via H&N in the UK on- and off-trade.
H&N will distribute six wines from Mulderbosch’s range including its single vineyard Cabernet Franc and single vineyard Chenin Blanc, Block W. H&N now has six South African producers within its portfolio.
Steve Daniel, head of buying at Hallgarten & Novum Wines commented: “I have always wanted to have Mulderbosch in our portfolio – they were the first wines from South Africa that truly excited me in the first years after apartheid. Since the first vintage in 1992, the winemaking team have contributed to making the Cape’s signature variety, Chenin Blanc, what it is today.
“Vintage after vintage Mulderbosch have produced stand-out wines, whilst continuing to innovate and shape the landscape of the South African wine industry, and I am delighted to welcome them into our portfolio.”
Sea Change x Ole’ Supermarkets
Following launches in the UK and Hong Kong, it was announced in August that environmentally conscious wine brand ‘Sea Change’ was to launch in mainland China.
The range was created with the aim of promoting and supporting marine conservation, with €0.25 cents from every bottle being sent to ocean charities, as well as the materials used in the packaging coming from recycled or sustainably produced sources.
The Sea Change range will be available through Ole’ Supermarkets and the charity money will be split between longstanding partner Plastic Oceans UK and local charity partner Rendu Oceans.
To mark the launch of the range in China, Ole’ Supermarkets and Rendu hosted an ocean clean-up event in Shenzen.
Co-founder and director, Toby Hancock, commented: “Ole’ Supermarkets has been incredibly supportive of Sea Change and its message, so it is a pleasure to establish this new partnership with them.
“The clean-up was really eye- opening for everyone involved and massively successful as we collected 140kg of waste in less than one hour.”
The range was launched in HK in April this year, at the 2018 Green Awards the drinks business named it ‘Green Launch of the Year’.