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Launch of Carson & Carnevale

Published:  19 January, 2017

Wine trade stalwart Christopher Carson and son Jonathan are to launch a new partnership with quality Italian food distributor Carnevale this February

Wine trade stalwart Christopher Carson and son Jonathan are to launch a new partnership with quality Italian food distributor Carnevale this February.

This initiative brings together the 400-strong premium portfolio of Carson Wines with the logistical reach of the family-run Carnevale, which produces such foods as pastas, mozzarella and salami, and has a country-wide reach in the Italian and quality restaurants sectors.

Carson & Carnevale will go live early in February, with the wine side of the business operating independently from the food business, but utilising the six Carnevale depots countrywide and the company's own delivery fleet to meet orders from both existing Carnevale accounts and new customers, focusing on premium on-trade outlets and groups.

"I believe the future will be less focused on volume wines, more on premium, and this partnership will allow us both to capitalise on the quality customer base and distribution that Carnevale has established and allow us to build our brands in a sustainable way," said Carson, who was once the driving force in turning Hardy's into the best selling brand in the UK.

The portfolio that the existing Carson Wines Agency brings to the partnership is strong in Italy and Australia, with good representation from producers in territories including Napa, New Zealand and Chile, with the Carson's looking to add suitable agencies from further territories over time.

"We will be responsible for sourcing of wines, selling the wines and formulating that side of the business, while benefitting from the delivery service that Carnevale, with its own delivery fleet and depots, can offer," said Christopher Carson. "This will allow us to deliver duty-paid mixed cases of premium wines, but through our contacts in the trade, we will also be able to offer exclusive labels ex-cellar for restaurants with wines positioned above the usual entry level."

While Carnevale's customer base is rooted in the Italian restaurant sector, the new partnership will be marketing and selling to the broader restaurant world, including restaurant groups, and regional wholesalers that sell into those sectors.

Jonathan Carson added: "We are looking to build our brands sustainably, and while the quality of the wines and service must be a given, it's very much about the relationships with customers and we already have a good start with Carnevale's customers as the company delivers a great service, but we can then look to build upon that with new customers beyond the Italian restaurants."

Wines from the forthcoming Carson & Carnevale portfolio will be available to taste at the forthcoming SITT events (Specialist Importers Trade Tasting) in Manchester on 27 February and London on 1 March.