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Weekly currency round up sees sterling slip

Published:  08 July, 2011

The weekly roundup of currency saw sterling slip against the US dollar and euro on Thursday after the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold.

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Paul Schaafsma, European Sales and Marketing Director of Australian Vintage

Published:  07 July, 2011

McGuigan is the fastest growing global wine brand in the UK top 20 despite a 9% increase in its shelf price. McGuigan has experiencing 62% sales growth in the past 12 months with its sales now topping £65M. How?

Simple. Listen, don't dictate and get your head out of the sand.

here is no question that the UK is challenging market but it also fluid, dynamic and full of opportunity. The key to building a successful brand is to listen to the market - adapt your strategy and innovate to ensure you are delivering wines that are relevant and appropriate. Continually sense check your wine style, varieties and packaging to ensure your brand has the edge, and is delivering what retailers and consumers what now, not yesterday or 12 months ago.

As a supplier you need to be culturally appropriate, flexible in your approach, quick to respond and be a 'user-friendly' distributor who will listen, take on board feedback and not dictate terms. Brand owners with the attitude of 'my brand is king, this is what it is, it is a must stock and by the way, I'm increasing my price' will see sales decline and their brand become irrelevant.

Our retail partners are just that, partners. We share a common goal to deliver quality, value and consumer appropriate products across all price points.

You must ensure your brand is relevant to the consumers who buy it.

Ignore market trends at your peril. This is not a case of one-size fits all - the UK market is unique and complex, and as such you must be flexible, listen and willing to change.

The lifecycle of Australian wine in the UK is such that the market is looking for what is new from Australia, what is different and how we've evolved our wine styles to remain relevant and appropriate. Australia is a key category to every retailer - the challenge is to not rest on our laurels and continue to evolve, innovate and make wines that retailers want to list, and consumers want to drink. Quality and value for money across key price points is of utmost importance and more often than not the market looks to Australia to take the lead.

Wine is a trend, and constantly evolving - as a brand owner you must be at the forefront of these trends to ensure your brand remains relevant to the UK market otherwise you're dead in the water.

Paul Schaafsma is European sales and marketing director of Australian Vintage

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Stellar Winery leaves Fairtrade foundation

Published:  07 July, 2011

South Africa's Stellar Winery, which owns Stellar Organics and Running Duck brands, is leaving the Fairtrade foundation for another accreditation.

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Grape variety hits No1 slot in consumer wine choice

Published:  07 July, 2011

For the first time in three years grape variety has regained its position as one of the first choices when purchasing wine in the UK, according to a report by Wine Intelligence.

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Robin Copestick, co-founder of Copestick Murray

Published:  07 July, 2011

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. So said Churchill, and I think he was right.

 

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Nick Mantella, Managing Director, Grupo Codorniu UK

Published:  07 July, 2011

For many the UK may appear a daunting prospect with other markets looking more attractive.  However, challenging as it appears today, it always has been competitive; there has never been an "easy" time!  We are, and always have been, a small fiercely competitive "island" market with everyone out to get a slice of the action and make a margin.  Competitors are all in the same boat, same economic circumstances, duty, taxation, exchange rates and customer potential.

 

Over the past 20 years we have seen the wine market double, most of the growth coming from the New World - making the wine market we have today.  Now the Old World is making a come back.  Nothing is constant nothing is stagnant.  The differences we choose are what and how we approach the market, how we operate our business models and how we implement our plans. The challenge is always to embrace the changes not fight them.

 

Consolidation and polarisation in the industry means you have the multiple grocers and specialists with ever increasing market share. Whilst on the other hand, the independent sector is growing from strength to strength as a result of both the demise of the multiple specialists and some great entrepreneurs. There are more on-trade wine opportunities and further developments in new channels with online e-commerce and direct marketing all offering an exciting range of quality wines and good consumer interaction which is key to drive quality.

 

Growing the market may be hard, but there are channels to do this, in others the battle ground becomes about taking market share, either way you know and face your challenges. We are lucky that in the UK we have a very savvy wine market. We can complain of downward spiraling price deals but we also have consumers who are well informed and interested.  Communication with a plethora of TV features, column inches, social media and consumer events dedicated to wine.  Some industries would die for the range of sources, styles, brands and suppliers that we have.  Our consumer demographic trends with an ageing, educated, well travelled population are far more likely to drink wine, regularly and be discerning about what they are drinking.

 

Often the best innovation and best business rewards come from problem solving solutions. The market remains exciting, if you want it to be. Enjoy it and go for it.

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Justin Howard-Sneyd, Global wine buyer, Direct Wines

Published:  07 July, 2011

What are we all doing buzzing around like blue-arsed flies, madly trying to do more and more with less and less? Are we going down the wrong road?

Profit in the wine supply chain in the UK is evaporating with the pressures of rising costs and taxes and falling volumes, and the retail prices which are held in check by the squeeze on consumer spending, and by our failure to explain to our customers why it is worth spending more to buy a better wine.

Does our definition of 'better' even bear any resemblance to our customer's definition of better? It seems that many of them either can't tell the difference, or prefer the taste of cheaper wine.

Is this their problem? No, it's not, it's our problem!

In many other markets, there is a much bigger stretch in customers' willingness to spend more for a 'higher quality' wine. In the USA, in Canada, in Scandinavia and in much of Asia, premium wine is booming.

How can we build back confidence in higher priced wines, and prevent the default position of most of the UK population just to buy what is on promotion?

The answer may lie in being able to predict more accurately the taste preference of each individual customer. Just as a good wine shop manager will build a relationship with each customer, and learn their preferences, we need to learn to do this on a bigger scale not just by analysing sales patterns, and understanding flavour profiles.

Let's stop forcing everyone to buy the wines we think they should like, and help them to find the wines they actually will like.

If we can show our customers a quality ladder that leads them to their own personal wine nirvana, then they are much more likely to climb, and keep climbing. But wine nirvana is different for different people. For some it is mature Nebbiolo, for many it is expensive claret, but for others is a gluggable fruity red, or a medium-sweet white. For some of these styles, the ladder stops on the bottom rung. We need to focus on extending their ladder upwards.

At the moment the road that most of the UK retail trade are going down only leads to a destruction of value in the wine category.

Whoever can help their customers find wines that they will love at every price point will be rewarded with much greater loyalty, and bigger profits. And they won't have to rely on promotions!

In the words of Robert Plant: "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run

There's still time to change the road you're on

Ooh, it makes me wonder"

A Stairway to Heaven.

Justin Howard-Sneyd is global wine buyer for Laithwaites Wine


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Jeremy Beadles, Chief Executive, Wine & Spirit Trade Association

Published:  07 July, 2011

Set against a backdrop of tax increases and squeezed household budgets the obvious major challenge facing the wine and spirits sector is how to flourish in today's tough economic environment.

 

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Chris Mason, Managing Director, First Drinks Brands

Published:  07 July, 2011

The first quarter of this year has been very challenging as consumers reel from increased taxation, fear of job losses and inflation growing. This has resulted in an all time low in consumer confidence.

We are in unknown territory now as we wait to see how shoppers will react to recent price increases (duty, tax and inflationary) which will possibly result in even more aggressive off-trade price promotions. So the year ahead is going to be a very competitive trading year.

In these challenging times, our primary objective at First Drinks remains the same, to build sustainable brands for the long term. To do this we take an integrated, through the line approach to brand building, ensuring that brand messages are encapsulated at every touch point with the right consumers. For example the recently launched global advertising campaign for Glenfiddich- "One Day You Will"-is part of a heavy-weight integrated campaign which includes relationship marketing, digital, social media and PR.

We are very specific about our business vision, strategy and target consumer. We then make sure we know our consumer, use available data and invest in research to target the right brand to the right consumers in the relevant outlets.

The role of innovation is always important, to evolve a brand and understand changing consumer tastes. For example within Scotch whisky, we have recently introduced a 35cl Glenfiddich 12 year old, successful for widening the price points we have to offer shoppers, a factor that has also made the 3 x 5cl Glenfiddich pack (12, 15 and 18 year old) a hit. It is now a top 10 selling malt product across the grocers all year round. For the connoisseurs and whisky explorers innovations such as Glenfiddich Rich Oak and Snow Phoenix offer an opportunity to try something unique.

We work collaboratively with our customers, setting joint goals so we can learn and earn together. Many customers use liquor as a destination category and we work with them to offer advice on how best to make the most of the opportunity. In the on-trade, we recognise the role of premium spirits, being in the right bars and at the right events focussing on target consumers.

We also need to recognise emerging growth opportunities for example year-round gifting, online sales, the convenience sector and categories such as Irish whiskey, non-cream liqueurs and golden rum.

It is becoming more costly to trade, but by innovating, stealing best practice, working with our customers on joint business plans and staying passionate we can grow.

Chris Mason is managing director of First Drinks Brands


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Danielle Meenagh, Star of BBC's Michel Roux's Service, the trainee's view

Published:  07 July, 2011

I wasn't interested in wine before doing Michel Roux's Service -  I had only heard of rosé

Emily o'Hare, The River Café, the Sommelier's view

Published:  07 July, 2011

Now is a very exciting time to be working in wine. I have been in the industry since 2004

 

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Shana Dilworth, Orrery, the sommelier's view

Published:  07 July, 2011

Having been in London for a few years now I can look back on my decision to leave San Francisco

 

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Barwell & Jones appoints Angus Macnab

Published:  07 July, 2011

Angus Macnab, former head sommelier and wine buyer for the Lanesborough Hotel, has been appointed sales development manager at Barwell & Jones.

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Scotch whisky adds £30.4m to economy

Published:  07 July, 2011

Scotch whisky distilleries and visitor centres add £30.4 million to the economy and provide 640 jobs. 

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Sterling falls as investors look to safety of US dollar

Published:  07 July, 2011

An interest rate hike in China and euro zone peripheral debt worries saw investors looking towards a safe haven in the US dollar yesterday, causing sterling to fall.

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Tesco to change wine aisle layout

Published:  06 July, 2011

Tesco is changing its wine aisle layout to give savvy shoppers more information, while offering less confident customers extra guidance using tag-lines "great wine chosen by Tesco" and "best sellers".

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Sud de France Festival unveils 2011 plans

Published:  06 July, 2011

The entire supply chain from producers, importers, retailers through to the end consumer will be the focus on the Sud de France Festival 2011.

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Scotch whisky adds £30.4 million to economy

Published:  06 July, 2011

Scotch whisky distilleries and visitor centres add £30.4 million to the economy and provide 640 jobs.

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European Wine Bloggers Conference lines up speakers

Published:  06 July, 2011

The European Wine Bloggers Conference has lined up Italian filmmaker Paolo Casalis and American broadcaster Evan Dawson to speak at its October event.

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Scots wine firm Wm Morton buys Inverarity Vaults

Published:  06 July, 2011

Two of Scotland's top wine businesses have joined forces as independent merchant Inverarity Vaults has been bought by on-trade drinks supplier Wm Morton.

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