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Hallgarten tasting unveils alternative classics and emerging regions with wide ranging portfolio boost

Published:  30 January, 2018

Hallgarten Wines signalled what it described as “a commitment to keeping price rises at a minimum” at its annual London tasting on 29 January, showing over 150 wines new to its portfolio, with many alternative appellations and new regions on show.

With a “major push revisiting the classic French regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne”, plus the new listing of wines from Macedonia, and a whole range of new wines from Spain among the fresh line up, Hallgarten managing director Andrew Bewes said the company was “seeing a lot of interest in what we are doing”.

“We were on course to rejuvenate Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne, which we’ve done, and one of the advantages of having new wines is that they can slot in with the older hierarchy, offering more opportunites for buyers,” Bewes told Harpers at Hallgarten's busy annual tasting.

“We’ve pulled in some Macedonian Wines, and a whole new range from Spain – I’ve a great belief in Spain – and though we haven’t done a major overhaul of the whole portfolio, we’ve been tinkering with different areas and it’s very exciting,” Bewes added.

“We’ve had to be more agile, and we feel we’ve also done a good job in the classic regions of France, finding new rising stars, refreshing what we offer.”

Bewes said that a slight easing of some foreign exchange rates had helped ease some of the price pressure on wines from the US, New Zealand and Australia. But, with uncertainty still surrounding BREXIT and the Euro, he said that the supply side of the trade would need to work harder with the on-trade to help sell though more alternatives to the best known names and regions in order to "protect margin and keep price rises to a minumum". 

“The big change this year is that it’s not going to be good enough to go to customers and say ‘wine X has gone up by a certain percent’. We have to think about where wine X is selling on their list, ask ‘is it going to break a price point if the price rises?’, so instead ‘let’s think about wine Y, and will that offer more margin and greater diversity?’ We need to meet what [the style of business] needs.”

With regard to selling some of the less-known and more esoteric wines that have joined the portfolio, including lesser-known Burgundy appellations and finds from Bordeaux, Bewes added: “Education and working with the staff is essential, as is writing clear lists that help explain these wines.”

“It’s quite a big leap, but I like to think that my team are excited by the challenge, rather than just passing on and news that prices have gone up.”

Hallgarten, which celebrates 85 years in business this year, will also be dropping the ‘Druitt’ from its full name Hallgarten Druitt & Novum, while continuing to keep a clear distinction between the more cutting edge Novum portfolio, headed up by buyer Steve Daniels, and the more classic Hallgarten offer.