Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Armit backs Italy with several new agency partnerships

Published:  07 March, 2019

Armit Wines is flexing its muscles in its Italian portfolio, having added several new producers through agencies or partner agencies.

The London-based supplier made its name on long-standing relationships with producers, many of which it brings directly and exclusively to the UK.

But in 2019, the business is making a number of moves to remain as agile as possible in the ever-popular Italian category, and keep up with demand in the on-trade by teaming up with a number of agency-represented producers.

Included are Romano Dal Forno, shared with Fine & Rare; and Cantina Sociale terre del Barolo, Famiglia Anselma and Marchese Luca Spinola via DBG Italia, David Berry Green’s Italian wine agency which become independent from Berry Bros. & Rudd in 2017.

They have also teamed up with Vinexus for Tiefenbrunner, on the Swiss-Austrian border, and sparkling/Prosecco producer, Biancavigna.

The new additions, which were available to taste at Armit’s Italian showing on Tuesday, follow the hire of new sales and marketing director, Susan Harper, last October to place further emphasis on the on-trade.

Increased demand is coming from both ends of the supply chain managing director Kirsten Kilby told Harpers: from the company’s Italian producers, which want to be seen in the shop window of London’s top bars and restaurants, and also accounts in the UK, which are keen to build on the confidence consumers now feel with Italy’s established regions and varietals.

“Restaurants know Tuscany and Chianti deliver a high return on investment and have great pulling power on a list. Now, we’re seeing more demand for wines like Castello di Buttrio. They produce Sauvignon Blanc, but they also have fantastic Refosco and Pignolo wines. It’s the same for Cantinia Sociale Terre del Barolo with their Nascetta and Freisa. It’s all about discovery – and the kudos of being able to offer that discovery. And Italy has no shortage of indigenous varieties to explore,” Kilby said.

The move towards an Italian-heavy portfolio has been gradual.

In 2019, Kilby is happier with the label of Italian specialists, though this wasn’t always the case.

When founder John Armit started the business in 1988, Burgundy and Bordeaux were the company’s breadwinners.

Now, that title now belongs to Italy, which accounts for 60% of the company’s turnover and which helps to offer a point of difference.

“You can buy en primeur from anyone in the UK. But we’ve been fortunate to have long relationship with top Super Tuscans. Relationships have always been our USP,” Kilby said.

Italy so punches above its weight in the on-trade – where producers can hit several price points each at exceptional value – in some areas, Armit works with just one producer.

One example is Sicily, where Armit represents Pietradolce from the trendy mount Etna region.

Kilby said: “Restaurants in particular are looking for great value wines. We’re known for the top end, where the wines are delivering what you would expect. But producers like Pietradolce hit both the entry-level, which is range great for the on-trade, and the top end, where the wines are attracting private client with skilfully made wines that show real refinement and minerality.”