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Sales up as PLB sets sight on indies and on-trade

Published:  04 February, 2013

Wine importer PLB Group has reported a double-digit rise in sales after increasing its distribution and selling a greater range of products to existing customers.

Wine importer PLB Group has reported a double-digit rise in sales after increasing its distribution and selling a greater range of products to existing customers.

 

Sales were up from £121.9m to £141.7m in the year to 31 August 2012, according to results filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profits fell by 20.8% from £605,672 to £479,751 after administrative expenses rose from £7.5 million to £8.1 million.

 

"The growth has been achieved despite a relatively flag market and has been due to increasing the distribution of its products and building on the range and sales of products to existing customers," finance director Simon Fredericks said.

 

Attracting and retaining major branded wine suppilers would continue to be a focus for the company as it looks to develop sales in the convenience and on trade sectors, he added.

 

Last week PLB announced five appointments to its specialist division, which is focused on the independent and UK on-trades sectors.

 

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Fiona Sims heads to Istanbul for the Dom Pérignon 2002 launch

Published:  04 February, 2013


I am led in silence to a white curtained tasting booth. On the Philippe Starck-designed table is a Riedel glass of rosé Champagne. There is also a spittoon - though I don't hear any spitting coming from the other nine occupied booths, just the odd sigh. And there is a view of the Bosphorus, glittering in the sunlight through the former sultan's palace window. Welcome to the launch of the Dom Pérignon's rosé vintage 2002 in Istanbul.

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Bibendum adds "iconic" Penfolds label to portfolio

Published:  01 February, 2013

Bibendum Wines has been appointed distributor for Treasury Wine Estate's Penfolds label.

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Bibendum Wines has been appointed distributor for Treasury Wine Estate's Penfolds label.

 

Bibendum will distribute Penfolds Bins, Icon and Luxury Wines as well as its on-trade exclusive range of Penfolds Cellar Reserve wines and Penfolds Bin 2 from this month.

 

Matthew Clark had distributed Penfolds in the UK until four years ago, when TWE moved to a number of regional distribution arrangements.

 

Andrew Shaw, Bibendum's head of buying said: "Penfolds are a terrific addition to the Bibendum portfolio. We have always been very strong supporters of Australian wines and couldn't pass up the opportunity to distribute one of the country's most iconic names. "

 

A number of back vintage wines will also be made available to Bibendum under the agreement.

 

Bibendum will include a range of Penfolds wines at its annual tasting on Wednesday February 6.

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Berry Bros to supply Jamie Oliver's Union Jacks

Published:  01 February, 2013

London-based independent wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has announced it is to supply wine to Jamie Oliver's new restaurant concept, Union Jacks in Holborn, Covent Garden, Chiswick and Winchester.

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Lebanese wine exports reach new high

Published:  01 February, 2013

Exports of Lebanese wine to the UK leapt by 33% to $4.3 million (£2.7 million) last year according to new figures released by Lebanese Customs.

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Retailers raise a glass to Comic Relief

Published:  01 February, 2013

From today online retailers, supermarkets and off - licences will donate a proportion of their sales to help disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa as part of Wine Relief 2013.

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From today online retailers, supermarkets and off - licences will donate a proportion of their sales to help disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa as part of Wine Relief 2013.

 

A total of 87 specially selected wines will be sold by Laithwaite's, Majestic, Naked Wines, Virgin Wines, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Oddbins and Selfridges in the run up to Red Nose Day on Friday March 15, with 10% of the retail price going to Comic Relief.

 

The event was created by Jancis Robinson MW, and has raised £4 million since 1999. "Most of us add wine to our weekly shop, so it makes sense to pick up a bottle that's part of Wine Relief. It's about making the choice to choose a bottle that leaves a good taste in your mouth, not only because it's a great wine, but more importantly because you're helping to raise money for Comic Relief at the same time," Robinson said.

 

TV presenter Claudia Winkleman suggested holding a retro wine and cheese tasting party to raise money for Comic Relief. "Cheese and pineapple on a stick in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, sounds like the perfect night in," she said.

 

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Australian Vintage to build on its branded wine offer in UK

Published:  01 February, 2013

Australian Vintage is teaming up with MasterChef's John Torode as it looks to strengthen its position in the UK branded wine market, both through its core McGuigan portfolio and new product launches.

TextAustralian Vintage is teaming up with MasterChef's John Torode as it looks to strengthen its position in the UK branded wine market, both through its core McGuigan portfolio and new product launches.

 

Torode is to work with Australian Vintage's chief executive Neil McGuigan on a collection of 50 recipes, which can be downloaded using QR codes on the back labels of any McGuigan wine. A dedicated website will then offer recipe ideas based on the wine the QR code has come from and their dietary preferences.

 

Julian Dyer, Australian Vintage's head of UK and Ireland, told Harpers that thanks to the quality of UK bottling, it is now able to bottle its iconic McGuigan Black Label brand in the UK for the first time. It is also launching McGuigan Black Label Reserve to the independent sector.

 

"McGuigan Black Label is the heart and soul of the company so it is crucial for us that it is being bottled in the UK," he stressed.

 

Black Label, he said, is vital in helping to push the premium Australian brand category up to and potentially beyond £9.99.

 

Dyer told Harpers: "This gives us an opportunity to stretch the phenomenal success we have had with the McGuigan brand and encourage more people to trade up."

 

He added: "You have to look to trade people up by £1 or £1.50 at a time. If you think you can get them to spend £3 to £4 more then you are kidding."

 

Australian Vintage is also looking to use its strong position in the UK to increasingly grow more business across Europe. Its close ties with UK bottlers, for example, means it can offer bulk shipping savings to distributors across Europe. "We treat bottling in the UK as an extension of our own winery," said Dyer.

 

But, equally, it remains "absolutely committed" to the UK, its number-one export market. Dyer said it was also vital it developed products for consumers who sill want to buy wine below £5.

 

These developments include:

 

  • Continued roll-out of its £3.49, 5.5% abv Vinni sparkling Moscato-based brand into supermarkets and convenience with new Blush and Black variants
  • A new range of 5.5% abv wines featuring a white, red and rosé under its new low-alcohol umbrella brand name Summer Light, first introduced, alongside Summer Time, in Australia
  • Bubblique, a sparkling flavoured wine proposition at 8.5% abv and "well below £10".

 

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Price gap between own-label and branded wines to narrow

Published:  01 February, 2013

Soaring supply prices could be good news for branded wines as the price gap is set to reduce between own labels and big brands, according to Rabobank.

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Northern Restaurant & Bar Top 50 - call for entries

Published:  01 February, 2013

The Northern Restaurant & Bar show is calling for entries for its second annual NRB Top 50 awards, which recognises and honours 50 individuals from influential hospitality operators based in the north of England.

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Video: John Torode and Neil McGuigan on their food and wine matching double act

Published:  31 January, 2013

Why have celebrity chef and co-host of BBC's MasterChef, John Torode, and Australian Vintage winemaker, Neil McGuigan become a food and wine matching double act?

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Jenny Mackenzie on the Neil McGuigan and John Torode food and wine matching link-up

Published:  31 January, 2013

The Neil McGuigan and John Torode Recipe Collection, which was launched earlier this week in London, promises to be an "innovative, interactive" wine and food matching concept with the aim of "approachability, affordability and accessibility".

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MPs oppose minimum pricing plans

Published:  31 January, 2013

Conservative MPs have blasted minimum alcohol pricing proposals in the same week the WSTA launched a campaign to stymie the government's plans.

 

David Cameron has championed plans for minimum pricing at 45p per unit and a ban on multibuy deals in a bid to tackle binge drinking. The proposals form part of the Alcohol Strategy consultation, which closes next week.

 

The WSTA's Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More campaign, backed by major retailers and drinks suppliers, is an attempt to raise consumer awareness about the subject and encourage them to ask their MPs to vote against the proposals.

 

A number of Tory MPs told Harpers they are already opposed to the plans. "The teenagers who drink grossly to excess on a Friday or Saturday night would still do so - they would 'preload' and carry on regardless or, worse still, turn to illegal drugs which are often cheaper already," said Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West.

 

Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said he was "opposed to government pricefi xing in principle". "I also do not like the idea that we are trying to clamp down on poorer people drinking excessively, but are happy to allow richer people - who already pay more for their alcohol than the proposed minimum price - to carry on as before," he said.

 

Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda also backed the WSTA's campaign. "We take our position as a responsible retailer seriously but believe the government's plans on minimum unit pricing will punish those customers who consume alcohol responsibly," said Morrisons head of corporate aff airs Guy Mason. "The evidence suggests that the issue of alcohol abuse will not be eff ectively tackled with this measure and the social aspects at the root of the problem should be addressed."

 

However, leading independent wine merchants have backed the plans. The Oxford Wine Company managing director Ted Sandbach said minimum pricing would give his company a better chance to compete with the supermarket as they would "no longer be able to promote at silly prices."

 

Chris Piper, chairman of Christopher Piper Wines in Devon, said minimum pricing "discourages the high street suppliers from selling off cheap alcoholic drinks at prices that are subsidised by suppliers and are not sustainable in the long term."

 

Under 45p minimum unit pricing, a bottle of wine at 13% abv would cost at least £4.39, and £4.88 if the minimum unit price was 50p. A bottle of 70cl vodka at 37.5% abv would cost at least £11.81 under 45p and £13.13 under 50p minimum unit pricing.

 

Three quarters of the consumers surveyed on the WSTA's site so far believed minimum pricing to be unfair.

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PLB strengthens on trade and independent division

Published:  31 January, 2013

PLB has made five appointments to its specialist division focused on the UK on-trade and independent sectors.

TextPLB has made five appointments to its specialist division focused on the UK on-trade and independent sectors.

 

Nico Kowalski has been appointed London sales manager and will be responsible for PLB's portfolio for restaurants and independent merchants in the region. Kowalski previously worked for Chilean producer Viña Ventisquero for four years as brand ambassador and spent eight years with Vinopols.


PLB's new wholesale manager Jim Gill has joined from Waverley TBS where he spent the last three years managing sales of the company's wine and beer brands to major UK buying groups. Before Waverley he spent two years as a national account manager for the Gaymer Cider Company and held a variety of sales roles at Coors. At PLB Gill will be responsible for wine delivered to the multiple on-trade, regional and national brewers and wholesale sectors.



As northern area manager, Loren Hardwick will promote PLB's specialist portfolio to the on-trade and independent merchants in the north of England. He joined PLB from Gaucho Restaurant in Leeds where he was a Sommelier and ran a number of consumer-facing activities at the restaurant.



Paul Roberts has joined as independent specialist manager in the south east and will be responsible for existing and new customers. He previously worked as business development manager for on-trade outlets at Waverley and was a senior store manager for Majestic Wine.

 

PLB's third recruit from Waverley is Jason Burton, who has joined as national account manager and will be responsible for the company's multiple national accounts. Before Waverley Burton held account manager roles at Matthew Clark and Heineken.

 

PLB's specialist division has a portfolio of 350 wines, the majority of which are exclusive to the on-trade and independent merchants.



The PLB Specialist Division is dedicated to sourcing and supplying the perfect offering - from entry-level price fighters to premium wines both classic and niche - to the UK On-Trade and Independent Merchants. The recently revised portfolio comprises around 350 wines from PLB's global network of suppliers, the majority of which are exclusive to these sectors.

 

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Michael Symington: a tribute

Published:  31 January, 2013

Michael Symington, the senior member of the Symington Port family died earlier this week. Here his son Paul, chairman of Symington Family Estates, gives his personal tribute.

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Calling independents: take part in our survey

Published:  30 January, 2013

Take part in Harpers' Indies Uncovered survey and you could be in with a chance of winning a magnum of Lanson Black Label.

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Real Wine Fair moves to March

Published:  30 January, 2013

The 2013 Real Wine Fair has moved to March to avoid another May clash with rival natural wine fair RAW. The two day event features 120 natural, organic and biodynamic growers and winemakers.

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Claude Bosi opens second London pub

Published:  30 January, 2013

French chef Claude Bosi and brother Cedric have brought forward the launch date of their second pub in south west London, the Malt House in Fulham, which is now open after a major refurbishment.

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Neil McGuigan and John Torode launch wine and food-matching service

Published:  30 January, 2013

McGuigan Wines winemaker Neil McGuigan has launched a wine and food-matching service with celebrity chef John Torode, called "The Neil McGuigan and John Torode Recipe Collection".

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Nomacorc celebrates 100 millionth Select Series sale

Published:  30 January, 2013

Synthetic wine closure producer Nomacorc has announced the production and shipment of its 100 millionth Select Series closure after introducing it to the market in 2011.

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Les Vignobles Foncalieu enjoys Le Versant sales boost

Published:  29 January, 2013

French co-operative Les Vignobles Foncalieu is to make it's flagship brand Le Versant its main focus after it increased sales by 58% last year.

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