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

Sogrape takes majority stake in Liberty Wines

Published:  28 June, 2019

Sogrape is ramping up its investment in Liberty Wines, in a move that will increase its 2017 investment to a majority share in the business.

Under the leadership of president Fernando da Cunha Guedes, the move strengthens an existing strategic partnership with the Portuguese group, which began just over two years ago.

A minority stake is also being taken by three champagnes, Charles Heidsieck, Piper-Heidsieck and Rare, building on the success of Charles Heidsieck in the UK and Ireland since it joined the Liberty Wines portfolio seven years ago, and the more recent addition of Piper-Heidsieck and Rare champagnes.

David Gleave, co-founder of Liberty Wines, will continue on as managing director and remain a shareholder.

The announcement also sees Luciann Flynn, who co-founded Liberty along with Gleave 22 years ago, exiting the company and her role as communications director, along with fellow board member and chief operating officer Gary Wyatt.

In a joint statement, Sogrape and Liberty said their quality-focused and independently-owned DNA has delivered “proven business success” and has laid the ground work for synergies between the companies.

“The attraction of Sogrape, Charles Heidsieck, Piper-Heidsieck and Rare, was that the businesses are family owned and take a long-term view of the market. We also share a belief in quality from vineyard to glass, something which is reflected in the strong performance of our three businesses,” Gleave added.

“At Liberty Wines, we have had our best results ever in this past financial year. We feel the strategic reasons behind our partnership are compelling and position us well to continue to meet our customers’ needs in this fast-paced market.”

London-based Liberty Wines supplies some 3,000 primarily on-trade accounts in both the capital and across the UK, with a turnover of around £75 million placing it among the bigger agent-importer businesses in the country.

In the past 12 months the company has added wines from Israel, India, Uruguay and China, further growing a 2,000-strong global portfolio that has notable strengths in Italy and Australia.