Oddbins shake-up begins

30 September, 2008

France has been prioritised by the new Oddbins owners Simon Baile and Henry Young who hosted the first tasting today since taking the business over in August.

Richard Verney has joined the buying team with responsibility for France and he’s started to overhaul the range. A selection of 14 new French additions priced £6.99-£12.49 including lesser known regions were on show at the event and will be in-store from November.

Verney told OLN: “Of what we’ve inherited (for France) we’ll keep a third, another will stay for the time being and a third has already been axed. The French range was the most neglected – there were only 150 lines and a large number were negociant products or straight Castel products.

The aim now is to offer “small, interesting producers with provenance”, Verney explained. “Simon and I are both from and independent background [Verney worked for Baile at Nuggs] and we see Oddbins as an independent.”

He added: “I want to give people something interesting to take home – quirky, small areas can produce good-value wines if you find the right producer - but there will be some mainstream products as well, we have to be realistic.”

Two examples of the more adventurous approach to France are the Château Lions Lamartine Blanc and Rouge duo from Guillac, £6.99.

Baile concluded: France is the most critical area to change – the quality is not there. France is incredibly important and we must get it right. But we’ve got to go through everything.”

Martin West also joins as marketing director. He said: “Oddbins is a great brand. We need to give it direction and support it.”

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