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2015 year in review and hopes and fears for 2016: Hal Wilson, Cambridge Wine Merchants

Published:  22 December, 2015

Hal Wilson of Cambridge Wine Merchants has had an 'awesome' and 'dynamic' 2015. He has embraced the popularity of spirits, which has helped boost his offering to over 900 SKUs.  The two biggest challenges in 2016 Wilson's thinks will be to keep wine 'sexy' and combating supermarket discounting.

How was 2015 for you and your business?

It was exciting, dynamic, revolutionary and awesome.

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

I think reports of the death of en primeur were exaggerated- we had our second best Bordeaux and 3rd best Rhone Valley campaigns ever.

2014 was difficult vintage in many areas but exceptional in the Loire Valley so we revitalised our range with dramatically good results. Our sales are up over 400%. Our reputation hinges on recommending quality vintages and creating demand as well as listening to customers' needs. A better exchange rate helped us to offer better quality versus price ratio wines and allowed us to be more competitive.

The spirits trade is dynamic and fast moving and attracts a lot of new and different customers. We invested heavily in gin and whisky particularly, increasing our range to over 900 SKUs.

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

A new website, new EPOS system for the independent trade, an exciting 2015 vintage in many regions and the Vindependents.

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2016?

Keeping wine sexy, supermarket discounting. And the obvious how to make any money?!

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

Berry Bros with Dan Jago at helm, Majestic with Rowan Gormley at helm and Aldi Llocal.

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

Celebrating my birthday

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

Charles Gardet 1996 'RD'

Favourite Christmas film?

It's a Wonderful Life

Ideal day out over Christmas period?

Ice skating in the Fens- if its cold enough!

What do you want most from Father Christmas?

Paris Climate Change agreement to be implemented by all nations

New Year's resolution?

Don't procrastinate, if it is worth doing- do it today! The road to hell is paved with New Year's Resolutions