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Cambridge Wine Merchants named as Sud de France Retailer of the Year

Published:  09 December, 2013

Cambridge Wine Merchants has been named the Sud de France Retailer of the Year in a competition run by the region's generic body, in association with Harpers.



Cambridge Wine Merchants has been named the Sud de France Retailer of the Year in a competition run by the region's generic body, in association with Harpers.

It is the latest in a series of awards the small chain of independent merchants has won both on a national level and for their work in promoting different regions of France and other key wine producing countries.

Twenty five independent wine merchants across the country took part in the Sud de France competition and were judged on how well they got behind the region, both in terms of sales and in-store activity to draw their customers attention to the diversity of wines being produced. 

The competition was held in conjunction with the Sud de France Festival, organised by La Region Languedoc Roussillon, which ran between September 2-29. Merchants were asked to add and promote two new wines from the South of France during this time. 

They were encouraged to host wine tastings, use special point of sale material and use new and social media to promote their activities. Participating merchants could also offer their customers the chance of winning a luxury trip to a six person gite in Camargue - won by a Belfast Languedoc Roussillon enthusiast - and a Sud de France food and wine hamper. As part of its award Cambridge Wine Merchants will receive a celebrity masterclass for its customers.

Hal Wilson, managing director of Cambridge Wine Merchants, said: "We are very proud of this recognition. 2013 has seen our sales of Languedoc-Roussillon again grow strongly, with a Vieilles Vignes Carignan even becoming our best selling wine of the year. Languedoc Roussillon is now our biggest wine category."

Wilson added: "It has also been great to see Languedoc wines receive good press this, with V de Ch. Viranel one of Decanter Magazine's (and Andrew Jefford's) wines of the year, Mas de Cynanaque and Mont Rocher featuring in Jane MacQuitty's wines of the summer, in the Times, and winter and Jancis Robinson MW regularly writing about the region's wines. I hope this focus continues in the future."

Wilson added: "The masterclass presented by Tim Atkin MW was a highlight of our successful Sud de France Festival, and we look forward to the masterclass next year as part of the award.

"Our Sud de France buyer Stewart Travers has again discovered some exceptional wines and successfully brought them to the Cambridge market, and much of the credit for the award and our championing of wines from Sud de France is due to his passion and skill. The CambsCuisine group of restaurants continues to list wines from Sud de France virtually exclusively and many other on trade, corporate and College customers are buying these wines with greater confidence."

It has expanded its range of Languedoc Roussillon wines to nearly 170 across its business.

There were two runners up in the competition: Reserve Wines of Manchester; and HarperWells of Norwich. They both receive Reidel glassware.

All the merchants that took part in the promotion were also invited to share their thoughts on the region which are being shared with producers through the Sud de France generic body.