Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Merchants get chance to get on top of their business at March for Independents conference

Published:  30 January, 2015


The latest regulatory and expert advice on issues as wide as duty deferement,  online selling, recycling and wine fraud will be on hand for those attending Harpers dedicated independent wine merchants conference on March 3.


The latest regulatory and expert advice on issues as wide as duty deferement,  online selling, recycling and wine fraud will be on hand for those attending Harpers dedicated independent wine merchants conference on March 3.

The event will be the highlight of Harpers' March for the Independents campaign that kicks off of Monday February 2 with a series of Action Weeks throughout the month on key trading and business issues for wine merchants.

The one day conference will then bring many of those issues to the debating floor with independents sharing not only their own experiences but having the chance to hear from experts in different fields on how they can keep on top of business law.

Lawyer Andrew Park from App Wine Law will take a detailed look at how changes to online retailing and "distance selling" could have big implications for wine merchants. He will also examine how independents that are part of joint buying groups need to ensure they are legally protected, particularly when trading in fine wine.  Equally he will look at how independents need to protect themselves in any contracts or arrangements with suppliers or if they are acting as agencies for particular brands or lines.

Experts from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association will also be on hand to take independents through their obligations when it comes to recycling of glass and packaging on imported wine which it could result in heavy fines if avoided. They will also remind merchants of their customs obligations and how best to handle duty payments. The WSTA will also update retailers on the latest issues relating to wine and drinks fraud.

Expert advice will also come from Tim Wilson of the Wilson Drinks Report who will look at how specific sales data from independents compares to mainstream off and on-trade data covering wines and spirits.

David Sables of Sentinel Management who trains top grocery companies, including drinks producers in how to negotiate with the major supermarkets, will share insights on how independents can best work with suppliers.

He will be joined by consultant Angela Mount, former head wine buyer at Somerfield, who will offer her top tips on how to negotiate with suppliers.

Alysia Wanczyk, marketing director of crowdfunding company, Seedrs, which has helped merchants such as Humble Grape raise financing, will explain how crowdfunding schemes work and the opportunities it offers for wine merchants.

Mike Greene, business entrepreneur and specialist in convenience retailing, will offer his personal insights in to what makes a good local, community retailer.

Top independent wine merchants will look at how they have been able to grow and expand their businesses. This will include direct advice from Matt Harris of Planet of the Grapes, Ted Sandbach, Oxford Wine Company, Stephen Finch of Vagabond Wines, Ben Stephenson of Hangingditch Borough Wines and Alexis Meszoly of D and D London and the New Street Wine Shop.

Other merchants lined up to take part include:

Ruth Yates of Corks Out and  Charlie Bennett, e-commerce director at Berry Bros & Rudd, will look at how merchants can build their online sales offer

Philip Amps of Amps Wine and Hal Wilson of Cambridge Wine Merchants will discuss the issue of bonding wine in the UK and how the use of duty deferements could help independents.

They will also join Jamie Hutchinson of the Sampler and Mathew Hennings of Hennings Wine Merchants to examine how merchants are increasingly joining up to buy wine directly from producers around the world.

The day is open to all independent wine merchants in the UK and if you would like to take part in any of the sessions or share your experiences then please contact Richard Siddle on

Full details of how to register are at the dedicated MarchfortheIndependents website.

The Action Week campaigns taking place throughout February include

  • February 2-8: how independents and suppliers can work closer together

  • February 9-15: how to get your MP and local media on your side and understand your business issues
  • February 16-22: how to get on top of the latest business and employment issues
  • February 23-March1: what independents should be buying and selling based on the latest sales and trends data

You will be able to follow all these Action Weeks in the new March for the Independents section of in the Campaigns section from Monday February 2.