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Bon Coeur marks 20 years with portfolio expansion

Published:  22 October, 2013

North Yorkshire independent wholesaler Bon Coeur Fine Wines has launched its largest portfolio to date on the back of its 20-year trading anniversary.

The company that sources direct and specialises in Burgundy and Bordeaux en primeur wineshas produced a new 80-page wine list that includes an extended main list to offer new depth and variety and an additional section on wines from Lebanon and the US.

It has also rebranded its Jacques Boncoeur house Champagne, which consists of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Founder and managing director James Goodhart said it is seeing 25% growth since it revamped the label and also extended into magnums and jeroboams.

Goodhart told Harpers he is forecasting 15% growth this year after 10%-12% growth in 2012. However, he added that in 2011 he was hit by losses from the 2010 en primeur market, which damaged turnover for that year.

"After 20 years trading you find you get out what you put into the business," he said. "The north east is a different market to London, there's definitely a time-lag here and it will take time for confidence to return in the market. We are feeling better about trading, but will remain cautious."

Goodhart said as a business he would rather expand slowly across a long period of time than quickly, as the wine industry is very cash-flow reliant and it can suck up money.

"My take on the Waverley collapse last year was that it wasn't that it was trading badly, it's just that taking on the Hilton Group, which might be like a dream come true to many, put a massive strain on its cash-flow."

He said the company has also unusually benefited on the back of slowly fragmenting pub chains. "Pubs that have been shut down often get snapped up by independent or smaller operators that much prefer to source locally," he said.

In 2013 Bon Coeur Fine Wines has added to its sales team and opened a new office in Newmarket.