News in brief

26 January, 2007

Swiss organisation Schenk Holding has increased its stakehold in its UK distributor, Buckingham Vintners. The pan-European company made its initial investment in the UK in 1994. Cliff Roberson, chairman of Buckingham Vintners, which supplies wine to the off and on-trades, said the extra investment would allow the company to give better value to suppliers and customers in both the own-label and branded sectors.

Freixenet has added some new Chilean wines to its portfolio. The Terra Nova range is produced in Chile's Curicó Valley and wines are selected and blended by Freixenet's South American winemaker, Sergio Traverson. The range was launched internationally in 2002 and five 2006 single varietal wines are available now.

Italian wine producer Cecchi has appointed Enotria Winesellers its new UK agent, taking over from Waverley TBS. The appointment means Enotria will now be able to offer the UK market wines from all key trading areas in Italy. Cesare Cecchi said his company wanted to re focus the brand, and Enotria's strength in trading in Italian wines in the UK would help develop wines "in crucial new and exciting areas of the market ".

Concha & Toro's Casillero del Diablo range will be extended in February with the launch of a blended wine. Reserva Privada is a blend of 65 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 35 per cent Syrah and will be positioned at £8.99. Concha & Toro managing director Cristian Lopez said: "To really push the Chilean category, we must ensure that consumers are engaged from entry level all the way up. Reserva Privada provides that 'step up' with all the confidence that Casillero del Diablo brings." The Casill ero del Diablo range consists of 13 single varietal wines.

Californian winery Jackson Wine Estates International has employed a manager to oversee its UK business.  James Tookey, who was in charge of the company's European sales for five years, will manage the relationship with the company's UK agent and distributor J E Fells & Sons, as well as working with other key customers.


Wine and grappa from the north Italian region of Trentino will be available to try at a special Trentino food, wine and tourism fair at the The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, on Feb 27. The trade tasting includes a food and wine matching seminar led by Peter McCombie MW and a chance to try food from the region. To attend, call Emma Roberts on 0207 089 3853.

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Lifting the spirits

I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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