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Waverley wants its wines to do the talking

Published:  22 March, 2012

The results of a radical overhaul of the WaverleyTBS wine operation was on show at last week's national trade tasting in London.

It was the first public display of the structural changes that have taken place in the last year with the arrival of Henry Moran from Musgrave as its new commercial controller for wine.

Steps have been taken to strengthen and link its wine buying and procurement teams to ensure its wine range is not only more commercially competitive, but regarded as a credible wine supplier in its own right and now just a drinks wholesaler, stressed Moran.

Its wine development team, for example, has been increased to 10 to work directly with customers in outlets on their wine ranging and price lists.

The changes follow on from the streamlining of its supply chain systems following the move to private equity firm, Manfield Partners, from Heineken in 2010.

"We are now a very different business," said Moran. "We are all looking at the most cost effective way of working with the wine buying and procurement teams very much aligned to each other."

The tasting showcased the 75 new wines that have been brought in to directly replace 75 lines that have been taken out. Its French offer, for example, has almost completely changed with the arrival of producers like Albert Bichot in Burgundy.

"We have had a big change in our suppliers. Our range is now far more commercially focused on what our customers need," said Nick Gough, wine development manager. It has put particular focus on introducing more wines at key price points, with greater emphasis on a wider entry level range and more mid-tier wines from key markets.

Is is also working hard to promote and develop its exclusive wine brands, either through own label (Oliver and Greg's) or its venture brands, which now account for 40% of its independent free trade sales.

Gough said the more to more exclusive lines meant it was in far better control of its own costs and supply base.
It continues to work closely with key branded wine partners like Australian Vintage and Gallo where it can help them distribute a wider range of their more premium wines.