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LWF: Lanchester Wines reveals ‘boutique’ focus

Published:  22 May, 2017

Day one of the London Wine Fair (LWF) began with NPD from Lanchester Wines as the company revealed a new focus on creating its own boutique brands.

The family-owned business this morning debuted a Spanish range comprising three new labels bottled at source with partners across the European country.

Predominantly known for its New World focus and also bottling in the UK at its Durham-based Greencroft Bottling site, the launch marked a new direction for Lanchester Wines, head of sales, Mark Roberts, told Harpers.

Over the past 24 months the business had really focused on its core portfolio, he added.

“This was cemented by buying The Wine Fusion and I believe we source excellent wines globally, but our aesthetic packaging wasn’t quite on trend.”

The first step on this journey began last year with the launch of Vintrigue, a creative agency, which also doubles as an umbrella brand for a new section of the business that will focus on boutique wines.

Vintrigue would focus on producing “quirky wines” from one off parcels which would eventually be incorporated into the core portfolio of around 3,000 brands, said Roberts, adding the activity also marked an increasing shift for the company from agency business to brand owner.

Another step in this direction came with buying a 60% stake in boutique wine house, The Wine Fusion, last year.

One of the first to be produced via Vintruigue, is Quilamari, a four strong range of quirky wines consisting of Tempranillo, rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah – each with their own eponymous marine stories (Quilamari translates as ‘tales of the sea’).

Although Vintruigue is being positioned as ‘boutique bulk’, Quilamari, along with Abadia and Lagar do Frade, are being bottled at source.

While Lanchester said it would continue to compete against other UK bottlers such as Accolade and Kingsland, taking the ownership of brand creation and bringing wines in house would allow it to become “more flexible and responsive to consumers’ tastes”.

“This is key to having a diverse portfolio,” head of commercial operations, Barney Davis, said.

“We can’t just focus on bottled in market, New World wines. We need to have wines that are unique to us.”