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The Oxford Wine Company officially leaves Vindependents

Published:  20 February, 2018

The Oxford Wine Company has officially left Vindependents.

Upon announcing its departure this week, The Oxford Wine Company said it had been “a bit unhappy for a while” and had decided to leave the buying group, of which it was a co-founder, to concentrate on its project with larger merchants.

The decision followed issues with deliveries, stock and quality, said managing director, Ted Sandbach.

In line with The Oxford Wine Company’s buying power “having increased”, being part of the group no longer made financial sense, Sandbach told Harpers.

“We have reasonable buying power now and, while the Vindependents format may work for smaller wine merchants, we are in a position to buy products cheaper,” he said.

While retail and on-trade continued to be an important part of the business, The Oxford Wine Company was still primarily focused on trade and as such, it was more cost-effective to import wines directly, he added.

In addition, Vindependents was getting “too big”, with no “personal touch”, he added.

Having “worked well” for The Oxford Wine Company, Sandbach said the company would continue its project with larger wine merchants, such as Cambridge Wine Merchants and Hennings Wine, both of which remain members of Vindependents.

“Going forward, we have plans in place to build on such projects, which involve shipping a container between the merchants of uniquely labelled wine,” he said.

As well as such projects making more financial sense for The Oxford Wine Company than being part of Vindependents, it also ensured a level of exclusiveness a buying group with “so many” members was unable to provide, said Sandbach.

Vindependents, which also saw the departure of Corks Out as part of its January membership renewal, said The Oxford Wine Company’s “focus on wholesale” did not fit with Vindependents’ focus on retail lines.

“Our focus is on great high quality retail wines, not value lines in bulk, which is what The Oxford Wine Company sources,” founder Jessica Hutchinson told Harpers

Corks Out is believed to have decided to part ways with Vindependents to focus on buying UK stock only, but the business was unavailable for comment as Harpers went to press.