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Wine Industry Reflections - 2018 so far...

We are just over three months into 2018 and a lot has already happened in the world of wine and so we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on events so far with respect to industry activity and trends. 

Attending last year’s trade London Wine Fair - an event in May 2017 that attracted over 14,000 wines from 40 countries - there were large distributors and producers of recognised brands one would instantly recognise in the supermarket through to niche producers seeking importers to grow their business. 

Also, the Australia day trade tasting in January 2018 we reported on in this blog was also very buoyant and thriving with great products. It's always fantastic to see and experience such energy and passion for wine and discover hidden gems. 

Wine industry

However, one has a reminder of how delicately balanced an industry can be when Conviviality plc went from announcing c.9% sales growth in October 2017 to a profit warning on 8th March. This was quickly  followed on the 29th March with an announcement they were ~10 days from calling in the administrators unless ~£130m of funding could be found. Conviviality are one of the trade’s largest wholesalers and retailers with brands such as Bibendum, Walker & Wodehouse, Bargain Booze and Wine Rack. 

The issue was played out over the following weeks which we touch on below as the opportunists circled to take advantage of brands available in the market. The details are not yet publicly available as to what truly happened at Conviviality but rumours in the press are not complimentary in relation to how the business was run. One can never forget that although wine is enjoyed by many at home, outside or in bars and restaurants - it is still a business and must be cared for professionally and run as such. 

It’s clearly been an action packed start to 2018 and no doubt the remainder will have many events to unveil as well. What should we look out for? 

Well in the last week we have seen a battle for the brands under Conviviality with C&C purchasing the Bibendum, Walker & Wodehouse and Matthew Clarke components in a £100m deal - all key wholesalers to bars and restaurants throughout the country. Secondly, Bestway - the food wholesaler- were close to sealing a £7m deal to pick up the retail elements of Wine Rack and Bargain Booze. Both of these agreements will secure a number of jobs in the trade and ensure ongoing supply of products but it remains to be seen what happens to pricing over the coming months. 

Buyouts have not just been limited to the domestic market either as overseas the huge Australian company Accolade Wines was acquired by venture capitalist firm Carlyle for £550m. Accolade may not be a household name but they are the owners of some well known brands on supermarket shelves such as Hardy’s wines, Kumala and Banrock station to name a few. 

These are large scale acquisitions of which much will impact high volume brands in supermarkets and high street retail. More niche, lower volume produced wines made with passion around the world will continue to take place and we’ll continue to try our best to source and support those producers to bring these great wines to you at competitive prices. 

As you know, here at Woodshire Wines we are passionate about our wines and the great winemakers that make it possible for us all to enjoy them. Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog. Indeed if there is a topic you’d like us to blog about or a particular wine you’d like us to consider adding to our range just let us know.


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