I Heart wine brand rose

Henkell has bought a 60% stake in wine importer Copestick Murray, which also supplies the ‘I heart wine’ range

Germany’s largest sparkling wine producer aims to tap into the UK appetite for Prosecco after buying a majority stake in UK importer Copestick Murray. 

The Henkell & Co Group, which has 14 sparkling brands and one champagne, and exports to 90 countries worldwide, has bought a 60% stake in the Wiltshire-based business for an undisclosed sum.

The German company, which generated sales revenue of €677.6m (£578.2m) in 2012, is wholly owned by the Oetker Gruppe, the parent company of baking brand Dr Oetker.

Henkell & Co’s MD Dr Andreas Brokemper said the main focus of the joint venture was as a platform to develop the position of its Prosecco brand Mionetto in the UK.

“The UK is the largest market for Prosecco Spumante (DOC) outside of Italy and one of the fastest growing markets for Prosecco overall. The Mionetto brand gives us a leading Italian Prosecco brand with a long history and superlative quality,” he said. 

Copestick plans

The news that Copestick Murray could now become a major player in sparkling wine had been greeted with enthusiasm by the company’s customers, MD Robin Copestick told The Grocer. He admitted the company, which supplies multiple retailers, had been under-represented in cava, champagne and sparkling at the right price.

In addition to the plans for Mionetto, Copestick said the company intended to develop other sparkling and still ranges. “No one in the UK has exploited the German sparkling wines. They are good quality and very competitively priced, so we expect to do exciting things.”

The structure of the business will remain unchanged, although Henkell UK’s office and sales team is likely to be absorbed into Copestick Murray.

As well as adding “exciting products” into Copestick Murray’s portfolio, and increasing distribution for its ‘I heart wine’ brand, a major benefit of the deal was in adding the financial clout of a major international company to the business, Copestick said.

“The big challenge has been funding growth. Insurance and banks have been nervous, and having to pay suppliers early to keep ahead of our credit has been hampering our ability to grow,” Copestick said. “This will help us to take it to the next level.”