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SITT 2012: Wine suppliers make renewed investment in indies

Published:  25 September, 2012

Suppliers are making renewed investment into the indie sector, judging by yesterday's sell out day at SITT Autumn.

Key distributors expressed optimisim about the market, stating that while the economy has not necessarily picked up, the "dust has settled" and companies know better where they stand.

Mike Stead, owner of Kent based Quest Wines, said he had to concentrate more on the US market over the past two years because of the "flat" UK economy.

"We made good inroads into the US and are now doing well, it's meant we can slowly build up acquisitions in the UK and begin to focus properly here again," he said.

"I'm not sure if the economy is on the up," he added. "But I feel the dust has settled and everyone has got used to the fact that things are tight."

Lancashire based EWGA director Adrian Moeckell thinks the market is "a lot more positive than it was two years ago".

He said: "There seems to be a lot of good changes and innovations around and the doom and gloom hasn't really shown itself.

"This year has been great for us, we're not yet firing on all pistons, but we're hoping that next year will be more positive again."

Small family importer the Humble Grape, based in Battersea, launched three years ago in the middle of the recession. Owner Cameron Gordon said he has learned to "keep his costs low" by importing direct.

"Because we are a young company and we have come into a difficult market, it has been better for us. I've seen a lot of larger companies hit the panic button too soon when they probably haven't needed to.

"We've been able to take some risks and have pushed ourselves to get out there and make sure we are part of events such as SITT all the time, as the most important thing is that people can see our wines."

SITT Autumn, incorporating the Boutique Wineries Tasting, experienced a "substantial" growth in the number of exhibitors applying for tables.