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Virgin Wines to sell fine wines from New World

Published:  04 March, 2014

Virgin Wines is planning to focus on fine wines - though not in the traditional sense - and personalise its website for each customer.

Chief executive Jay Wright told that since the private equity-backed management buyout last November, the firm now had the chance to change structures and think more strategically about the future.

"Fine wine - not in the en-primeur sense, but done in a more 'Virginesque' way - with a New World focus. We'll be looking at higher end wines [from the New World] that aren't as readily available in the UK as they could be," Wright said.

"Most of what I'm trying to do is about engaging consumers," he said. It is upping its focus on its Fabulous business, which works like Tupperware parties only for wine, as well as looking more to the corporate and gifting markets.

Wright says the company is also working hard on personalisation online - currently customers see one of 22 home pages depending on past activity on the site, but Wright wants to go further still. "We want to be completely tailored to you, based on your order history."

"We're more than just a faceless brand," he added. He is aiming to have the personalised version ready to launch within 12 months.

"The more we can offer what they want at the price they want, the better," he said.

He said that 20% of current sales are bespoke orders through pick and mix cases, which takes customers a lot of time to do. He wants customers to be able to choose four to five bottles then 'autofill' the rest. "We're working on algorithms around style and taste profiles," he said.

The group is targeting £50 million turnover within five years - in the year to June 2013 it had revenues of £35 million.