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Major wine players must invest more in their brands to compete, warns David Dearie

Published:  09 January, 2014

It is vital the industry's major wine companies start to invest major sums in their brands if they are to compete against other drinks categories, has warned former Treasury Wine Estates chief, David Dearie.

Dearie, who left the international wine brand business last year in the wake up of major write down in the US,  said major companies had to be far  "cannier" in the type of merger and acquisition deals they got involed in what they use those deals for.

"Wine brands are not competing in the same way as beers and spirits do," he stressed.

If wine was to truly compete as the "beverage of choice" for consumers then it had to behave in the same way as the major beer and spirits brands do.

"We need to use M&A to invest in brands," he added. Only by doing that will the industry be sustainable in the long term.

Dearie's comments are part of Harpers ongoing coverage of Wine Vision, the largest international wine conference to be held in the UK, both here on and in the January edition of the magazine out on January 10. 

Dearie was speaking as part of a wide ranging debate looking at the trends within mergers and acquisitions in the wine industry.  He was joined by Robert  Nicholson of International Wine Associates who said it was clear M&A activity in the sector was being driven by the largest wine companies looking to restructure and dispose of "non-core wine assets and non-core brands and products".

Diageo was the most active player in the global wine M&A market with six major deals in the last year, he added.