In Brief

WSTA argues against tax hike?The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is urging the Treasury to resist further tax rises on alcohol in this year’s Budget. In its Budget submission, it said increases in tax of more than 20% for wine and 15% for spirits over the past two years had contributed to widespread job losses in the drinks industry. WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: “Enough is enough. We know the public finances are in difficulty, but pushing up prices with higher taxes does nothing to help British consumers or businesses battling to recover from the recession.”??Drinks buck retail sales trend?January saw the worst retail sales growth for 15 years, according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium. Sales value rose by just 1.2%, compared with January 2009, and there was a 0.7% fall on a like-for-like basis. Food and drink retailers fared better than most, however, with a 4.3% increase for the quarter from November to January and a 2.5% like-for-like rise. The BRC blamed the cold weather for the sluggish new year sales.

Laventure leads Budvar sales?Joe Laventure has been made sales director of Budvar UK after the retirement of Neville Hall. Laventure is being promoted from national accounts director and has previously worked for Brakspear and Ridley.

Investment scheme closed?A wine investment scheme suspected of being fraudlent has been wound up by the Companies Court. Elite Wine Portfolios was handed the court order after evidence was presented by the companies investigation branch of the Insolvency Service.

Brothers Cider ups ad spend?Brothers Cider is planning to increase its media spend by 20% this year to more than £1 million and will be looking to run TV ads during the World Cup. The company said it would be the same creative as last year’s debut ad, which featured five brothers wearing red wigs.

GIV appoints Sessions The UK arm of Italian producer GIV has appointed Ranulf Sessions sales manager for specialist retailers and the on-trade. Sessions has previously worked for Constellation Europe, Matthew Clark, Oddbins and Allied Domecq. Wendy Perez has joined from HWCG as category management executive?.

Edwards for UK vineyards?Ian Edwards has been named chairman of the UK Vineyards Association. The owner of Furleigh Estate in Dorset replaces Bob Lindol of Cornwall’s Camel Valley Vineyards. Edwards said: “These are the most interesting times the UK wine industry has seen, and the role of the UKVA in supporting its growing number of vineyards and ensuring a voice for them at the highest level is more crucial than ever.”