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Richard Siddle: "I'd like to raise a glass to you all..."

Published:  10 April, 2015

When I joined Harpers eight years ago I have to admit I was very much an outsider joining the world of wine and spirits.


Richard SiddleRichard Siddle

When I joined Harpers eight years ago I have to admit I was very much an outsider joining the world of wine and spirits.

I had covered the drinks industry during many years as a retail journalist, but had not dipped my toes into what I soon discovered was such a fascinating, complex and hugely enjoyable sector to work in.

Yes, when I first started writing this column I thought Bibendum was a restaurant I could not afford to go to on the Fulham Road. Eight years on I still can't afford to eat there, but I have got to know all the intricacies of how such a restaurant, or its counterpart in the off-trade, works.

I have also become immersed in and highly respectful of all the ins and outs of how the wine and spirits industry works together to bring UK consumers the most diverse range of drinks available anywhere in the world.

We have all seen and been through enormous changes over the past eight years. Years of economic depression have forced the wine and spirits industry into making many difficult decisions. The majority of which have helped create a sector even more vibrant, passionate and capable of sourcing, shipping, bottling and selling the best quality wine and spirits at incredible value to the great British consumer.

We have seen UK bottling become a sub-sector in its own right. The discrepancies of the bulk wine market are now played out on the centre stage and not whispered deals in the corridors of trade tastings.

The routes to market for wine and spirits have also changed dramatically. Suppliers have become multifaceted, offering everything from consumer insights to technical support. Independent merchants are now the rising stars of the high street.

Online retailing and marketing yourself through social media are a must have rather than a nice to have.

All through those eight years I have tried to play my part in helping the industry better understand the underlying trends behind these major structural changes and what impact they will have on your part of the industry.

Where appropriate I have looked to get directly involved in areas where Harpers might make a difference. Like with the Top Merchants initiative to support independent wine merchants and the Best Practice Guidelines that provide a framework to help them work closer with their suppliers.

Eight years on and I now feel very much at home in what was once such a mysterious industry.  

It is, however, time for me to move on to a new adventure, as this is my last issue of Harpers.

But I look forward to working with you in the near future as I develop my own new opportunities within the trade and please keep in touch at or on Twitter at @richardsiddle.

It truly has been an honour to be your editor for these defining years.

I'd like to raise a glass to you all and thank you for your support.