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LWF: Inverarity continues the Scottish march south

Published:  21 May, 2019

Scottish-based Inverarity Morton is using its second ever outing at London Wine Fair (LWF) to advance its focus on supplying the English trade, with a round of new agencies in its portfolio.

The company is one of several Scottish suppliers, including Alliance Wines and WoodWinters, that have been ramping up their presence south of the border in recent years, offering exclusive agencies to English accounts.

Inverarity’s head wine buyer Toby Sigouin told Harpers, “this is our second year at the Fair and our focus is on expanding in England, and we have new agencies that represent our values – including wines that have never been in the UK before”.

Labels being showcased included a premium single vineyard wine and vintage Prosecco from Vigna Dogarina, new wines from the Campillo stable, including a pale-style Spanish rosado and very modern-leaning Gran Reserva, plus the newly acquired agency of Granbazan Albarino, representing a saline, textured food style of the popular wine.

At the forefront of Inverarity’s refreshed portfolio is new ‘eco-label’ Sea Change, comprising a Negroamaro and Chardonnay from Puglia, adorned with a dolphin graphic, and from the sale of which 25 Euro Cents from each bottle goes to the Sea Changer and Plastic Oceans UK charities, helping combat the growing plastic crisis in the world’s oceans.

“This struck a chord with us, what with Scotland having such a great coast line and fishing heritage and we’ve already raised around £7,000 for the charity in just four months,” said Sigouin, highlighting the lightweight bottle and recycled label that includes a percentage of re-purposed grape pulp.

An interesting point about the Sea Change Wines – aimed at house pour - is that the price to customers is fixed at a non-negotiable £5.

“Wines by the glass are not doing well in pubs, and we wanted to offer something that would stand up to the gin and tonic, and there is so much more that we could do, there are interesting things being done rather than just say ‘OK, people are drinking less but better’, and people like it,” said Sigouin.

With the addition of two new members of the team for England, Sigouin was upbeat about Inverarity’s ambitions for expansion.

“Our first year [at LWF] was more of a PR exercise, but it’s going well, the take up in England [for some of our new agencies] was actually quicker than in Scotland,” he added.

Inverarity supply to 25% of the Scottish on-trade, but is expanding southwards through supply of premium off-trade and region wholesalers.

“We are starting to supply people like Fenwick’s, smaller high quality people, and we do a lot with smaller regional wholesalers and brewers, so people like Harvey’s - it’s starting to happen.” 

He also reported, in line with the general trend across the trade, that while the company’s entry level sales were down by 4% to 5%, this had more than been matched by more premium sales as consumers drink less but show a propensity to trade up.