Dismemberment of FMV’s portfolio begins apace

The extensive range of UK wholesaler Fields, Morris & Verdin is being cut up and parcelled out, with Bibendum, Berkmann Wine Cellars and Liberty Wines all announcing new additions to their portfolios from the stricken business.

Rumours began to swirl earlier this summer that FMV, the wholesale arm of fine wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, was in trouble.

Although the agency had a number of plum exclusive distribution rights in the UK for a huge number of top Old and New World producers, as reported in June the company said it was undergoing a “review” to determine its future.

BBR’s chairwoman, Lizzy Rudd, said at the time: “Like many businesses, the impact of the pandemic has forced us to step back from our business and review our structure.

“Covid-19 has completely changed the consumer landscape. It has created a highly uncertain market, particularly within the hospitality and retail industry, and we do not know when or how it will recover or what it will look like.

“We are reviewing the size of the producer portfolio which we represent, how much stock we are able to hold to supply the trade, and the people structures needed to efficiently run our trade operations in this changed landscape. We are also reviewing how we can more closely align it with our fine wine client proposition.”

From various sources it now appears the staff have been made redundant, the business is likely to be wrapped up and the portfolio is being taken up by other businesses.

Liberty Wines for example has already taken on Rafael Palacios’s wines and it was announced this morning it was also adding the Mullineux and Leeu Passant labels from South Africa.

Berkmann Wine Cellars announced yesterday it would be distributing Champagne Jacquesson henceforth and Bibendum made a statement this morning that it had added Quinta de la Rosa to its portfolio, alongside Neudorf Vineyards, Bodegas Mustiguillo, Giovanni Rosso and Domaine Delinks Jourdan which were all former FMV agencies.

Thorman Hunt, meanwhile, has said it has taken on Roussillon estate Le Soula and Bancroft Wine has added Dog Point Vineyard from New Zealand.

A full statement from FMV is expected early next week and there will no doubt be many more further announcements of new portfolio additions in the meantime as other businesses take advantage of the rich pickings to be had from what is/was a pre-eminent stable of fine wines.

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