Christina Albon - Marketing Manager | Tanners Wine Merchants
An interview with an operator of the recent Côtes du Rhône’s on-trade marketing campaign
Christina Albon is a marketing manager at Tanners Wine Merchants and one of the operators behind the recent Côtes du Rhône’s on-trade marketing campaign. In an interview with LWC, she speaks about their wine list, suppliers, wine trends outside of France and much more.
LWC: How do you decide which wines you list?
Christina: We’re generally looking for something to fill in a gap in the range or an area where sales are good or to improve on an existing line. We have to like the wine and it has to deliver at its price point. I always ask myself the question: “Am I happy to stand up in front of my colleagues and say that this is the best thing since sliced bread?” We have to like the supplier too.
We also have a real mix of customers – some very knowledgeable whilst others are just starting out on their wine journey and looking for help and expertise from the team, so it is important for us to have a good mix of wines.
LWC: How many suppliers do you have and what determines which suppliers you work with?
Christina: Too many suppliers, is the answer, about 400 for wines and spirits. We like working with family companies where there is a story to tell, a place to visit and a person who makes the wines, rather than a marketing exercise from a tank farm. It gives the wine provenance and a sense of place which fits with our ethos and makes it easier for us to sell.
We like to build up relationships over a long period. We find good producers who make good wine consistently across the range and across vintages. We wouldn’t work with someone who just made a good wine once – it would look like an accident.
LWC: Outside of France what trends are you seeing in terms of what people are buying?
Christina: Italy and Spain are still popular, Australia making a bit of a comeback, Argentina is big as long as it’s Malbec. Eastern Europe as well.
LWC: Which countries and styles do you seeing becoming popular over the next 12 months?
Christina: As above but increasingly vegetarian and vegan suitability is important. We get asked for ‘natural/low Sulphur wines’ but this is problematic as there is no definition of the former, though if you try and define it, many of our wines fit the bill. But it is going to be important and would be good for the trade to accept a definition. Non-alcoholic wines will also become more popular.
LWC: What are the biggest challenges facing your business?
Christina: Margins, people drinking less wine, convincing people of reasons to buy from an independent wine merchant. Brexit possibly, all depending.
LWC: What are the biggest opportunities?
Christina: Convincing people to buy from an independent. Increasing boring ranges from larger retailers must give huge opportunities where you have something different, individual and with a genuine story and can give great service.
About the Author
Richard Siddle is an award-winning editor with a strong track record of creating targeted business-focused content, campaigns and events aimed at helping different business sectors particularly across grocery retail, independents, convenience, wine and spirits sectors. He is now publisher and co-founder of www.The-Buyer.net offering insight, opinion and tasting analysis to buyers and sellers in the premium on-trade.