John E Fells is to be the UK distributor for the fine wines from Yalumba and Hill Smith Family Vineyards. The Hill Smith family will simultaneously become shareholders in Fells.

The UK fine wine distributor is owned by Symington Family Estates (owner of Port houses of Cockburn’s, Graham’s Dow and Warre) and Miguel Torres (the producer of Spanish wines: Sangre de Toro and Vina Sol); the duo are long-standing shareholders in the company. They will now be joined by the Hill Smith family. 

These three wine-producing families – from Portugal, Spain and Australia – have a multi-generational heritage and the trio say they are “united in the long-term vision required for the successful continuity of family wine companies”.

Robert Hill Smith said: “My family and the Yalumba team are excited by this venture with John E Fells and joining such respected wine people as the Symington and Torres families. Our Negociants team has done a wonderful job in the UK since 1990, but the time has come to align our aspirations with a new market approach. The Fells list is fabulous and our Yalumba and family estate folio sit comfortably within it. We hope to continue our success across all channels while making further impact on the Horeca channel and building deeper relationships with the independent trade.”

Paul Symington said: “When my family originally bought Fells in 1976, none of us envisaged that it would occupy the position that it does today in the UK wine trade. It is with great pride that we now welcome the Hill Smith family into Fells, and we look forward to working with Robert, his family and their wonderful wines in the years to come.”

Yalumba, which was established in 1849, is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaker. The portfolio is tiered and works across all channels. The producer is noted for its commitment to the Cabernet and Shiraz blend but it also known for its Viognier and Grenache wines. The family also has a number of Estate brands including: Pewsey Vale Vineyard, Heggies Vineyard, Jansz Tasmania, Nautilus Estate and Oxford Landing Estates. Their key agency partners – Vasse Felix of Margaret River and Two Paddocks of Central Otago – will also come to Fells at the same time.

The wines will be distributed in the UK by Fells from June 11 2018.