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New Horizons Q&A: Ted Sandbach, Oxford Wine Company

Published:  17 December, 2020

With an end game to the coronavirus in sight sometime in 2021 as vaccine rollouts begin and up-to-the-wire Brexit uncertainties play out across an extraordinarily tough year, Harpers has been canvassing drinks businesses as to their predictions for trade deep into the new year.

We continue our series with Ted Sandbach, MD of Oxford Wine Company.

Given everything that's going on, from Covid to Brexit, what are your three predictions for the next 12 months?

A deep recession, wholesale wine business suffering more than retail, amalgamation of some businesses.

This is an uncertain future for all concerned, when you and your team sit around the table what conversations are you having? 

Tariffs, paperwork and minimum shipping quantities.

What is your biggest concern about Brexit?

Extra costs which will affect small business but be absorbed by the supermarkets.

How do you feel the trading environment is going to play out post Brexit 

It will take nine months to settle down and only the well-financed will survive.

What areas of your business has Covid had the biggest impact on?


Anecdotally, Brits have been drinking more during the pandemic. Do your sales reflect that?

Absolutely. We've seen a massive increase in private sales.

What have you done to take advantage of the rise in off-trade sales during lockdowns? 

Opened a new shop and taken on more retail staff, now five shops.

If you had to pick the next big thing in wine what would it be? 

Well, if we leave Europe without a deal and prices rise across the board, we may well see a resurgence of New World wine.

If you could change one thing about the wine industry, what would it be?

Sales reps calling unannounced and leaving samples you neither want nor need. Stop agents selling directly to the end user.


Quickfire questions:

New versus Old World?  Old  

Red, white or rosé? Red 

Screw top or cork? Screw

Bottle versus box? Bottle

Still versus sparkling? Sparkling – has to be English or Champagne