Susan McCraith has joined the Cheshire-based franchise off-licence group as “resident MW” in a consultancy capacity.
Her brief will be to review the company’s wine strategy and range, including the development of a premium selection of wines.
Chief executive Diana Hunter said: “A significant number of our customers already shop the wine category and our aim is to improve their enjoyment and experience.
“We plan to leverage Bargain Booze’s brand strength and high street footprint to grow our wine sales across the estate.
“The appointment is key in fulfilling the potential of the wine category for our business and shaping our plans with our buying team, our suppliers and our franchisees.”
McCraith has more than 20 years’ experience in the wine industry, including a decade with Waitrose as a senior buyer.
She left in 2007 and set up the ethical-wine.com information site. Two years later she formed the mail order fine wine and en primeur business Davis Bell McCraith Wines, with Richard Davis and Aiden Bell, both ex-Averys.
She will retain her involvement with Davis Bell McCraith, which moved to new retail premises in the Clifton area of Bristol earlier this year.
McCraith has been an MW since 1994, has lectured for the wine MBA at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and is chairman of the West of England Wine & Spirits Association.
She said: “There is clearly a big opportunity for Bargain Booze to increase its wine revenues by introducing range, pricing, merchandising and promotional initiatives that appeal to existing and new customers.”
Bargain Booze has 615 stores trading under the Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Plus, Select Convenience and Thorougoods fascias.
McCraith’s appointment comes hot on the heels of a bank holiday TV and radio ad campaign which positioned the chain as “the proud sponsor of summer 2013”.