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Stevens Garnier rebrands to Sogrape and ups on-trade focus

Published:  10 February, 2015

Wine supplier Stevens Garnier is ditching its old name in favour of Sogrape, that of its Portuguese parent company, and has vowed to hone in on the UK's on-trade in 2015.

The Portuguese wine producer increased its long-standing shareholding in the Stevens Garnier business to a full buyout back in November 2011, and one year ago the agency sold its wholesale and retail business to Oxford independent SH Jones. 

Matt Douglas, the managing director of Sogrape UK, said: "The next key phase of our development is in the on-trade area, which is crucial for our brands, providing them with access to premium consumers. While it's a completely different type of business to the off-trade, it's equally as important to us."

Two additional sales roles have been created to help Sogrape grow its on-trade business. David Lloyd, from De Bortoli and Suzanne Rennie, from Treasury Wine Estates will be managing the on-trade chains, brewers and wholesalers.

In an effort to grow the business in the on-trade Sogrape UK has been adding a host of premium brands throughout 2014. Mateus, Mouton Cadet, and McWilliams Mount Pleasant were added to its range in effort to appeal to the sector.

"We have brands in our portfolio which fit perfectly with this sector already - such as Sandeman, Domaine Vacheron, Casa Ferreirinha, Védrenne and Mount Pleasant. And we are actively looking for additional well-established brands with a proven track record in this sector, an example being renowned Burgundian producer Ropiteau Frères, who join us this month," said Douglas.

Portuguese wines have been doing well overall with recent recognition from critics and the trade alike of the great value versus quality proposition that the wines offer.

According to year-on-year Nielsen data, Portuguese red wine imports into the UK are up 11.7% in value and 11.8% in volume.

White wine, meanwhile, has seen enormous growth, with a 12.9% increase in the value of sales and a massive 55.5% increase in volume, according to Nielsen analyst Natasha Kendall.

"In 2014, Port exports reached €308 million, of which the UK represented €45 million," according to Manuel de Novaes Cabral of the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP). "Douro wine sales totalled €49 million, with €2.6 million going to the UK market. In terms of exports, the UK is the second biggest market for Port and seventh for Douro wines."