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Consultation now open for indies and suppliers

Published:  07 October, 2011

If you have a bee in your bonnet about how suppliers are trading with independents  - whether it's exemplary or has room for improvement - we want to know.

Harpers has opened a consultation with the trade, to find out whether the industry needs a set of trading principles on channel management or whether things are best left as they are.

Initially the survey was available to indies only, but this has now been widened to canvas a 360º view of the industry, which we will break down when we publish the results.

The questionnaire came about after leading independents, among them the Sampler's Jamie Hutchinson and Hal Wilson of Cambridge Wine Merchants, said suppliers needed to be more transparent about where wines were being sold.

At a debate held on September 12 at London's Soho Hotel, representatives from both suppliers and indies asked Harpers to facilitate the consultation. The next step will be to compile the responses and present this back to the trade to take the issue forward in a practical and legal way.

Stephen Finch, who own's Fulham's Vagabond Wines, said: "Any meaningful discussion must start from an honest assessment of the relative value of independents to suppliers. If independents are no more useful to them than a legless horse, then the rational response would be to tell us indies to jog on."

Catherine Monahan, managing director of Clink! Wines, said: "This discussion should be about how we, as brand owners, develop an honest solution to the needs of the consumer."

The consultation is available to fill in online at