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Looking ahead: Jason Haynes, co-founder, Flint Wines

Published:  20 December, 2017

With the all-important Christmas trading period underway - and hopefully turning passion into profit for the UK’s wine and spirits operators - we at Harpers are looking ahead past New Year to see what’s in store for the trade in 2018.

We continue our series with a one to one with Flint Wines co-founder, Jason Haynes.

1. What were the highs and lows for you and your business in 2017?

2017 was a very successful year for the company with turnover more than 40% up for the 2nd year running. Expanding the business both in terms of developing the portfolio and improving national distribution through an enlarged customer base has been very satisfying. We feel we have a responsibility to grow the company so that we can offer career paths within the company to all of our team so it's nice when it happens!

Winning the IWC Burgundy Merchant of the year for the second time in 5 years was great, too.

The biggest low was seeing the £ drop to 1.08 against the Euro. But, since then, we have seen a rally and are only about 3% lower than we were at the beginning of the year which is sustainable.

2. What were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2017?

Politics and currency kept rearing their head throughout the year and interrupting a lot of people's focus and will no doubt do so throughout 2018 but as we can't control either it seemed sensible just to get our heads down and work hard.

In restaurants the trend for lots of choice of wines by the glass at all kinds of prices continued and it's been great to be able to drink serious and interesting stuff in this way at so many places. Long may it continue.

3. What trends do you predict for 2018?

More women in wine events. It has taken an age for the wine trade to lose it's male dominated image but there are now so many talented, dynamic women thriving in all aspects of the industry (making, buying, selling, promoting and writing about wine) that events highlighting/embracing that fact will flourish.

4. What are likely to be the biggest opportunities for the trade in 2018?

The wine trade seems to be divided currently into two camps. Those that are pessimistic about the next few years and are consequently very cautious and those that are more optimistic and therefore more ambitious. I'm pleased to say that we are in the latter camp and see lots of opportunity presented by other's inertia. As is the case with so many industries if you stand still you go backwards. Growth needs to be strategic and considered but it is out there if you want it.

5. What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2018?

Lack of wine, especially white Burgundy. It remains a staple of so many lists and the 2016 vintage has been so decimated by frost that there just wont be enough wine. Chassagne and St Aubin are particularly badly affected. Still on the positive side it creates opportunities for lesser known younger growers to get their wines out there.

6. Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2018?

Three people to watch. Rupert Taylor who has set up Uncharted Wines and is Mr Keg. He is so passionate and motivated and ahead of the curve that 2018 will be a great year for him.

Christina Rasmussen seems to be everywhere with lots of fingers in lots of pies and that will only increase.

William Kelley, the new resident Burgundy expert for Decanter. He has quickly got himself known and respected, despite his enviable youth.Highly intelligent, academic and knowledgeable, he will be a household name very soon.

7. What, for you, would make for a perfect Christmas?

Not having to write the Burgundy Primeur Offer because it's finished. In my dreams!

8. New Year's resolution?

Take a proper holiday!