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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Unwins Wine Group's new Birchwood Agencies is more than just a name change for Phillips Newman. Phillips Newman remains, but is now purely the wholesaling division under managing director Simon Wetz, with Shaun Healy as special director, sales. Birchwood, which is named after the Unwins group building in Dartford, Kent, becomes the agency division of Unwins, with 14 houses - nearly all of which are family-owned companies, like Unwins itself - including Danish Distillers, Clem Port, Faustino Rivero Ulecia, Wente and Via Porta. With Philip Wetz as Birchwood's managing director, the agency has Tony Bennett, ex-Phillips Newman, concentrating on the on-trade and independents, and Mike Hooton, previously with Private Liquor Brands, looking after the multiples. Sales and marketing director Giles Wood told Harpers: We are a specialist, concentrating on high-quality wines. We still believe in the romance of wines and only take wines that have a story to tell to people who know about wine.'