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Free Run Wines to boost its French portfolio

Published:  12 February, 2014

Free Run Wines is planning a boost its French portfolio and develop intellectual property to add value to the business.

Last year, major Spanish wine brand Félix Solís decided to split from Free Run and set up its own UK office under ex-BIbendum director Richard Cochrane.

Nicolas Bauer, joint managing director of Free Run Wines, told that although Félix Solís was a "big part of the business in volume terms", it was not core to the business in turnover terms.

"Now we have a whole lot of plans to plug that gap and we have a many new and exciting partners in France. Our Champagne activity is very important and buoyant. We are now working with Les Vignerons de Buzet, and our plan is to further strengthen our French portfolio. We now feel we have two very good strong partners from the south west, which compliment our Rhone and Languedoc wines."

He said Free Run was not looking for a new Spanish partner, preferring to concentrate on France. It already works with Socav in Bergerac as well as Vins fins du Perigord, Vignobles Dauré, Les Deux Rhônes and Grands Vins Selection.

Its most recent partnership, with Les Vignerons de Buzet, saw its Chateau Loustalet 2012 and Chateau La Hitte 2012 listed on Tesco Wine by the Case.

Bauer also said the firm will continue to focus on working high street multiples. "We have a lot of expertise in that area and that's where we will concentrate. We tried to diversify in the past, but it's our core business and what we know best," he said.

It's also planning on adding value to the business through developing its own intellectual property. In 2012 it created the Les Calades French brand, and Bauer is keen to work more in this area. "When we develop retailer brands we try to develop our own intellectual property to add value to the business. That's our focus," he added.

Free Run will have four tables at France Under One Roof on March 3, 2014 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, and will be showcasing its full French portfolio including 12 wines from new partners Les Vignerons de Buzet, including 9% abv Nuage Rose and Nuage White.