Laithwaites boost to South America

Laithwaites is almost doubling the number of Chilean and Argentinian wines it lists this year to meet increasing

demand for South American


Last year, sales of Chilean wine at Laithwaites experienced the biggest growth of any country for the second year running, giving

Chile a 9 per cent share of overall sales. Argentina grew by 50 per cent to claim a 4 per cent share.

Unveiling a selection of

80 Chilean and 60 Argentinian wines at the first Laithwaites London press tasting, senior buyer Thomas Woolrych said: "We reckon we must now have one of the biggest South American ranges of any retailer.

"Our customers are quite willing to experiment with different areas and try different grapes, which is one reason for the increase.

"One of our strengths is selling the story of the wine to customers and many of these wines, especially those from Argentina, have a strong story behind them."

Woolrych, who will hand over buying responsibility for Argentina to

Nick Taylor this month, said South American fine wine sales were performing as well as those in the lower price bracket.

"At the top end, the Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec

- which, at £19, falls into the fine wine category

- sold out within months," he said.

Wines from Spain are also performing well for Laithwaites, whose

10th store opened in Surbiton last year.

Head of buying

Peter Greet said there were plans to open more stores, but only if suitable sites could be found.

"They have to be in the right areas where there are already a number of existing customers and where there is space to offer parking," he said.

Laithwaites founder Tony Laithwaite is currently working in France to produce a new range that blends wines produced in different countries.

The wines are expected to be released under the Le Chai au Quai label later this year.

News in brief

Myliko Wines has taken over the UK distribution of Josef Drathen wines in the UK. The German producer's range includes Ewald Pfeiffer, St Charles Wines, J Hahn Wines, Sternhauler Mulled Wine Specialities and other sparkling wines and wine cocktails.


producer Maven Wines is offering consumers the chance to win a 10-day gastronomic holiday

in New Zealand.

The winners will be taken to the Maven Whitianga Scallop Festival

then they'll leave on a

tour of the country , taking in game fishing in Tairua and flying over coastal Tauranga in an

open-cockpit classic plane. They'll end their trip in Marlborough

with a tour of Maven's vineyards. Maven Marlborough Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc will carry the promotional neck collars in Wine Rack and Thresher stores from March 12 until April 28.

WaverleyTBS has appointed Gordon Johncox

managing director

to replace Jeff Jamet. Johncox takes up the post with immediate effect, moving from his current role of group procurement director for Scottish & Newcastle.

H is experience in the drinks industry

covers several roles within S&N, including four years as managing director of Courage West & Wales and a number of senior roles in the off-trade .

Languedoc producer Val d'Orbieu has extended its Muscat de St Jean de Minervois range to include Vendanges d'Automne. Originating from the late-harvest AOC of St Jean de Minervois, it is produced from hand-picked Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and has a 15.5 per cent abv. The launch will be supported by a bottle collar promotion offering the top prize of a trip to St Jean de Minervois and the Languedoc. The neck collar will direct consumers to a

website - - which will also feature brand news, an overview of the AOC and further consumer competitions. Priced at £11.99, Vendanges d'Automne will be on

shelf in the Co-op from March.

Vranken-Pommery Monopole has introduced a new vintage cuvée to its Heidsieck & Co Monopole portfolio of Champagnes. Silver Top, from the 2002 vintage, will retail in the UK off-trade at £31.99. The wine is a blend of 35 per cent Pinot Noir, 35 per cent Chardonnay and 30 per cent Pinot Meunier.