Liberty Wines relishes Mateus challenge posed by closer Sogrape partnership

Jo Gilbert

Leading Portuguese wine group Sogrape has increased its involvement with Liberty Wines, building on a distribution deal struck earlier this year.

Sandeman Port producer Sogrape is ramping up its presence in the UK by purchasing a minority shareholding in quality importer and distributor, Liberty Wines.

In January, it was announced that Liberty were taking on distribution of most of Sogrape’s estates for the UK and Ireland.

Following on from a “double-digit increase in sales in the UK”, Sogrape CEO Fernando C. Guedes said the move cements their commitment to the UK as a “priority market”.

“The UK is one of the great shop windows of the world. This investment highlights our strategic focus, our continuing commitment to quality and our ability to maximise value from grape to glass as we pursue a path of sustained growth,”
 he added.

The push into the UK market comes after a year of discussions with Liberty Wines and also a rise in sales.

Global revenue for the producer reached a record €214mn (+3.9% on 2015), with the UK market accounting for 7% of total sales.

The partnership will also see Liberty play a greater role in the future of Mateus Rosé, which has enjoyed considerable success over the past 12 months.

“Mateus Rosé has grown in a shrinking market in 2016 due to its quality and strong brand recognition, and we aim to build upon that performance,” David Gleave MW, Liberty Wines’ managing director, said.

Through this partnership, Liberty Wines enhances its portfolio of agency brands with premium wines from Portugal (Sandeman and Casa Ferreirinha), Spain (Bodegas LAN), Chile (Chateau Los Boldos) and Argentina (Finca Flichman).

Liberty Wines imports wine from 20 countries and works with over 300 producers, and has a strong presence in the premium UK on-trade.


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