Reh Kendermann has bought a 16% share in North South Wines, matching the amount held by existing shareholders The Wine People and De Bortoli Wines. 

As a result of this, North South Wines will manage all of Reh Kendermann’s UK business in the wholesale, convenience, discount, independent wine specialist and on-trade channels, effective from April 1, 2020. Northern Ireland and the UK supermarket channel will continue to be managed directly by Reh Kendermann.

Reh Kendermann, the producer of Black Tower, is one of Germany’s largest wineries and the business dates back to 1920. It is now in its third generation of family ownership under Andrea and Carl Reh. The business is the largest exporter of wines from Germany and it designs and produces branded and premium own-label wines from Germany and beyond. Its flagship Black Tower brand sells around 13 million bottles worldwide.

The 16% shareholding has been held by North South Wines since 2017, when the Bolitho family, one of North South’s founding winery members, decided to sell the family business, Waimea Estates, to a New Zealand investment company.

Following today’s announcement, North South is 52% owned by the UK-based management team with each of The Wine People, De Bortoli Wines and Reh Kendermann Weinkellerei holding a 16% equal share.

Kim Wilson, managing director of North South Wines, said: “This marks a very exciting time for North South Wines as we enter into our seventh year of trading. We have been working with Reh Kendermann for the past couple of years and there are some great synergies with our two businesses, so when the opportunity came up for another winery to invest, they were the obvious choice.

“We are seeing increased demand for premium German wines, and we have the relationships and routes to market that will allow us to continue to grow the Reh Kendermann business in the UK. There is a brand refresh of Black Tower coming in 2020, so we are thrilled at the prospect of being able to take this out to customers.

“Reh Kendermann is celebrating 100 years of making wine in 2020, so it is fantastic to have a winery rich in history and heritage joining the North South Wines board.”

Alex Rittlinger, joint managing director at Reh Kendermann GmbH, said: “With this new partnership and the investment into NSW we continue to strengthen our position in the UK market as well as our Black Tower brand. Although there are many challenges at the moment, we strongly believe in the UK market and in the NSW team. This is a new chapter after investing in Yapp Brothers wine merchants around four years ago.

“We look forward to this new investment being beneficial for all parties for future growth. NSW is the right partner for us and together with our business, as a leading German wine producer, we will better overcome the challenges of the UK market in terms of German wine growth. In this way we can give the right signal to the changing UK retail market.”