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2015 year in review and hopes and fears for 2016: Andrew Maidment, Wines of Argentina

Published:  24 December, 2015

Andrew Maidment, the head of Wines of Argentina in the UK said 2015 was another great year with growth of 26% compared to 2014. Looking ahead though Maidment sees 2016 as year to continue to focus on the end drinker, but will be following the discount retailers next year.

How was 2015 for you and your business?

2015 has been an other fantastic year for Argentine wine in the UK! We've ended the year with growth of 26% vs 2014, maintaining our position as the fastest growing country of origin for the second year in a row. We've now had over 6 quarters of double digit growth.

Malbec continues to make its shift from the perennial 'one to watch' to a successful category in it's own right and a top choice for drinkers throughout the country.

We're pleased that we continue to perform well in the incredibly important specialist retail sector in addition to finally finding our place within the major retailers. 

It's also been a fun year, getting out and about to music Festivals with our container wine bar and generally encouraging the UK to enjoy wine Argentine style. 

We can't wait to kick things off for a bigger and better 2016. 

What do you think were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2015?

Looking internally, it's obviously the continuing trend of very strong growth for Argentine wine. We're in a better position than we've ever been in the UK and that's exciting. 

What opportunities are you most looking forward to working on in 2016?

More and more work is focused on the end drinker. We know who our core customer is and we know where to find them - so we'll be spending 2016 on initiatives aimed specifically at increasing awareness and engagement amongst this target audience. Luckily they're a young, energetic bunch so we should have some fun doing so. 

I strongly believe this is our moment to cement Argentine wine's popularity in the UK market, so I'm very much looking forward to working with both wineries and the UK trade to ensure that we achieve our potential. 

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2016?

To keep engaging with drinkers and attracting them into wine, which considering the wine market is flat or declining at the moment we're clearly not doing as well as we could be. We've got to excite people with the experience and concept of drinking wine more than we're doing at the moment.

Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2016?

Of course, I'm very interested to continue to follow the rise of the 'discount' retailers and follow how the likes of Tesco, who made big changes to their wine range at the end of this year, are responding to their threat. 

I'm also interested to follow Majestic. They are a key retailer for Argentina and with Rowan Gormley on board I'm expecting to see some very interesting developments over the coming year. 

I'm generally intrigued to see how online sales continue to grow. We've seen some outstanding figures posted from revitalised companies such as Virgin Wines recently and it will be fascinating to see how this continues. 

Still looking at online and perhaps towards a company who is still not on many people's radar, I'm interested to see how the wine app Vivino develops as they try to monetise their platform. 

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

I'm heading to Austria to be with the family, which will be a bit special this year as it's our first Christmas with a baby. New Year might be a bit quieter than usual though...

What will be your favourite tipple over Christmas and New Year?

Probably a combination of Gruner Veltliner, Jagermeister and of course some wonderful Argentine wines for Christmas Day. ;-)

Favourite Christmas film?

Something not Christmassy at all- Pulp Fiction. 

Ideal day out over Christmas period? 

Hopefully what we'll have this year...A little bit of skiing during the day followed by an evening in an Austrian bierkeller drinking beer and eating a giant weiner schnitzel. Only this time probably leaving at 8pm to put the baby to bed...

What do you want most from Father Christmas? 

Honestly, nothing! But then I say that every year and get disappointed when it's empty under the tree. 

New Year's resolution?

To avoid disappointment in myself, I avoid them like the plague!