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Chiswick Auctions spices up drinks arm with new team

Published:  29 March, 2019

London-based auctioneer Chiswick Auctions is in the process of a complete overhaul of its wine and spirits arm, aiming to attract high-end consumers alongside the more traditional wine collectors.

To help modernise the business specialist wine importer Sam Hallyer, who owns Harley Wines, has been brought on board as head of department, with Christopher Cooper of Drinkonomics joining him in a consulting role to help modernise the wine and spirits side of the business.

Speaking to Harpers Cooper explained that Chiswick Auctions has been reshaping its business to broaden the appeal and function of the auction house, and that now the time has come for its wine and spirits arm.

“The idea is that we want to open it up to the average collector, and also mid-to-high-end consumers – the type of people that might use the Wine Society, or shop at Hedonism,” said Cooper.

He added that an important part of the evolution was to link those consumers with the trade too, allowing for direct contact between the two, so that customers can better source “unique, individual lots, and smaller parcels of wines” that might otherwise be hard to find.

“We want a more dynamic, fresh, forward-looking wine and spirits department, in keeping with modern consumers, so we have looked at how to redevelop both the commercial side and the drinks side, and it’s been very exciting coming up with something new and different,” he added.

Citing the traditional image of auction houses, with business models based on the ‘3 Ds’ – death, divorce and debt – Cooper explained that more open channels of communication between buyers, vendors and producers are at the heart of the remodelling.

“Typically the auction world is fairly closed, but we are looking to reduce the gap between producer, vendor and consumer, and this is the really important thing,” said Cooper, adding that his role was to help facilitate those relationships and facilitate the matching of parties with shared interests and goals in terms of potential sales.

Chiswick Auctions wine and spirits department currently holds four wine auctions throughout the year at its headquarters in west London and also provides advice on cellar management, recommendations on wines for investment, for laying down, plus what is currently drinking well and new drinking trends in the market.