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Lay & Wheeler launches ‘benchmark’ own label range

Lay & Wheeler has launched an own label range – a collection of ten wines that it says provides a benchmark for each wine and fulfils its mission of “connecting the right wines with the right people”.

Picture credit: Handover Studio Photography

The ten wines are priced from £7.56 – £16.52 per bottle or as a case of six or 12.

The collection comprises ten wines, seven of which are available now, with three arriving available in the New Year. Available now are a red Bordeaux from the makers of Château La Gaffelière, 2019 Bordeaux by Domaines Comte de Malet Roquefort (RRP: £11.75 including duty and VAT), a Sancerre from Domaine Paul Thomas in the celebrated commune of Chavignol (RRP: £18.50), a Côtes du Rhône Villages from family estate Château Courac (RRP: £12.50), a sparkling Saumur Brut from the Loire’s Bouvet-Ladubay family (RRP: £15), a “sophisticated yet approachable” Langhe Nebbiolo from the Vaira family (RRP: £22.50), a Rheingau Riesling from critically acclaimed  winemaker Eva Fricke (RRP: £19.50). In additiona a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc will arrive in the merchants cellars early next year, comprising a “New World Chardonnay with Old World style”, from Adelaide Hills trail-blazers, Shaw + Smith (RRP: £23), a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the team behind Blank Canvas (RRP: £19) and a single vineyard, old vine Chenin Blanc from Swartland winemaker Adi Badenhorst (RRP: £16), and a half-bottle of 2016 Lay & Wheeler Sauternes by Château Suduiraut IRRP: £14) .

A mixed case of the collection is also available for £99, comprising a bottle each of the Bordeaux, Sancerre, Côtes du Rhône-Villages, Loire Fizz, Rheingau Riesling and Langhe Nebbiolo.

The inaugural range, which has been two years in the making, comes as as result of the business’s investment in its team to build relationships with growers it said, and it plans to add to the range each year.

The range includes a few new producers including Domaine Paul Thomas in Sancerre and Château Courac from the Rhône Valley, who were chosen following a tasting conducted by Lay & Wheeler’s buyers Catherine Petrie MW and Beth Pearce MW.

A spokesman said that although these weren’t the merchant’s first own label wines, “after several years without a collection to call our own, we wanted to champion wines that reflected the leaps and strides the Lay & Wheeler wine offering has made in recent years, as evidenced by our buying team growing from one to four,” he said.

Buyer Beth Pearce MW said the range was “a warm welcome for anyone who would like a taste of what we do”, pointing to the Sauternes from Château Suduiraut, as “a fabulous example of the calibre of wines we source, at an accessible price point.”

The team worked with Sean Chilvers Design, the firm behind the brand’s new logo, to design the labels.

Lay and Wheeler celebrated a strong year last year with turnover up nearly a third to £19 million, it reported in January, following a “transformational year” in 2020, which saw them return the best results in a decade, with sales up 57%. 

Speaking to the drinks business following the company acquisition by a private family in October 2019, managing director, Katy Keating told db she wanted to “bring the company back into the spotlight” and expand the range outside its Bordeaux and Burgundy heartland as well as bolstering its growing e-commerce site.

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