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Hallgarten tasting return signals ‘portfolio refresh’ following Gérard Bertrand move

Published:  22 March, 2022

A very buzzy One Marylebone was the setting for Hallgarten & Novum Wine’s strong return to its pre-Covid annual tasting format, where a number of new wines were on show.

Some of the 250 new wines taken on by the premium supplier and distributor over the past two years were showcased at a smaller tasting during autumn 2021. However, yesterday’s trade tasting (21 March) was the first largescale event since the start of the pandemic, and the first since the move of major South of France account Gérard Bertrand to Bibendum Wines.

Portfolio director Jim Wilson was philosophical about the move, explaining that the size of its rival was better placed to provide for the Bertrand group’s aspirations in the national off-trade.

“We’ve taken the decision therefore, to try and concentrate in the immediate future on bringing in a lot of what we call smaller, funkier wineries which are better suited to the sommelier and independent retail trade and not so much with an eye on the national account trade,” he said.

“That could change, as we need to tackle all sectors, but at the moment, that’s our immediate aim, and it’s what we’ve done in France, particularly the South of France and to a certain extent, Italy.”

According to France buyer, Beverly Tabbron MW, the company has been in the process of a “portfolio refresh” following the move of Gérard Bertrand, with 140 of the 250 new wines on show at yesterday’s tasting having come on board in past few months alone.

These included 12 new producers from the Languedoc Rousillion in the past 18 months – many of them following in the footsteps of the sustainability pioneer.

This strategy will now be to focus on sommelier-driven on-trade wines and exclusives – two of Hallgarten’s strengths.

These include “iconic” Tuscan producer Badia a Coltibuono, premium Champagne Duvel-Leroy and Hunter Valley’s Mount Pleasant, which produces world-beating Semillon and Shiraz.