Glazeley Bridgnorth Shropshire WV16 6AB Tel: 01746 789411 Fax: 01746 789501 Email: Web: Key contacts Managing director Roger Gabb Sales director Jeremy Spencer Finance director Stephen Smith Quality control director Ed Adams Logistics director Brian Bunn Associate director Anthony Fairbank Associate director Paul Letheren Buying manager Roger Higgs National accounts manager Jon Woodriffe PR and marketing manager Katherine Higgs Brands and advertising manager Martin Pinner Chief winemaker Rhyan Wardman Key brands South Africa: Kumala; African Legend; Two Tribes; Winds of Change; Out of Africa; Big Five; Diemersdal; Cape Soleil Organic; Morgan/Milton Grove; Tribal Sparkling; Kersfontein; Azaenia; Serengeti Reserve; Not Too Dry; One L; Sonop Wine Farm; Bellingham; Douglas Green; Villiera; Muratie Italy: Tre Uve and Tre Uve Ultima; Il Padrino; Il Verde and Il Mostro Nero; Mezzomondo Chile Cono Sur; Isla Negra France: Cóte Sauvage; Saracen; Cazal Viel; Laurent Miquel; Kiwi Cuvée Australia: Katnook Estate; Riddoch; Deakin Estate; Wirra Wirra Spain: Zorro; Wilderness; Finca Luzon; Palacio de la Vega New Zealand Highfield Umbrella Brands: Pendulum (Australian white, Italian red, South African rosé); Natural State Organics (Italian red, South African white); Big magnum size (Chile and South Africa) "Globalisation is becoming a feature of the wine industry and that is a good thing," says Western Wines' buying manager Roger Higgs. "It is opening up the wine world for the UK consumer by forcing the old school wine trade to pay attention to the winemaking and wine-marketing that demystifies wine. "Attitudes are changing towards wine and consumers are increasingly coming to realise that brands, as in any other industry can be trusted to deliver consistent quality. However, consumer choice is not limited to wine brands alone. There are still thousands of wine producers in the world and consumer choice is huge." Higgs believes there is still a major role to be played by smaller wine producers. "There will always be demand for quality wine irrespective of the quantity produced. Retailers are easily persuaded to take on smaller parcels/wineries if the quality/value ratio is right." South Africa conquers the New World Higgs regards South Africa as being one of the world's fastest growing and exciting producers within the wine sector. "The quality and value is increasing at a great pace... the rest of the New World better watch out!" But can South Africa and other New World wines continue at this pace even when its up against the classics of France or the favourites of Eastern Europe? Higgs is in no doubt: "Eastern European wines enjoyed considerable interest in the early nineties and the removal of "central funding" meant it experienced a big slow-down. "Now, even with the freeing up of land and production in the European Union, I doubt they are about to enjoy a sudden comeback. But there is no reason why they shouldn't succeed in the long term. "As for France, if they continue to ignore the threat their market share will continue to decline. They need to adopt a flexible New World' attitude to survive. If they did this there is no reason why they shouldn't make a comeback. Not all traditions are good traditions!" No trade-ups Despite observations that UK wine drinkers appear to be trading up ­ the most popular wines are still around £5 per bottle. Higgs says: "There are still excellent quality wines under £5 but this doesn't mean people aren't interested in trying more expensive wines. After all, there are excellent cars available in the UK at under £10,000 ­ does this mean Ferrari is wasting its time? Approximately 50% of Western Wines' portfolio is from South Africa where Western Wines also has an office. Western's leading brand is Kumala, which is the number one South African brand in the UK and is in the top 10 of the UK's light wines. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}