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Bancroft showcases new-look portfolio at first post-lockdown tasting

Published:  14 September, 2021

The trade was in fine form at Trivet restaurant in London Bridge yesterday, where mid-sized supplier Bancroft Wines debuted many of the wines brought over from the trimming of Berry Bros & Rudd’s wholesale arm, Field, Morris & Verdin (FMV).

The company showed many of the 60 new producers that it launched last year as part of a concerted effort to strip duplication out of the portfolio, re-assess and expand.

In 2021, Bancroft has a total of 190 producers on its books, the equivalent of 1,500 wines, up from 1,000 in 2019.

Of last year’s 60 new producers, 40 came from the folding of FMV, with the remainder coming direct from Bancroft's buying team.

It’s been quite a year, says CEO Jon Worsley, with new 60 producers and ten new members of staff coming on board to help drive expansion.

“We’re very lucky that we’ve always had a private client division. As a business, 73% of our customers have been in the on-trade, and those shut overnight, so we were able shift to the off-trade and our private clients.

“The split in the last three months since things have reopened has seen some good recovery. We’re back to about a 50/50 split in terms of on and off-trade revenue, but the on-trade still represents around 73% of our customers,” he said.

As well as firefighting against Covid, Bancroft also took the time in 2020 to streamline its portfolio and to initially bring the number of producers to 120.

“That was us looking to see if the producers sat within our vision, and actually Adam Bancroft’s original vision. We talk about quality but also authenticity, be that family owned wineries or terroir, and then sustainability, which is also really key to our current owner’s vision.

“Brutally, there were some wines that just weren’t good enough or they were nice to have but not quite right,” Worsley said.

Among the new arrivals is Exton Park, “A fantastic project, which is a business we've been talking to for a while”.

Bancroft is now the Hampshire based winery’s exclusive UK distributor, looking after each of their five sparkling wines.

Sherry is also a newcomer with an Oloroso and East India Solera courtesy of Bodegas Lustau. The fortified portfolio also includes a rare tawny from the Barossa Valley.

“We’ve got a strong portfolio in Australia, and hopefully, more wines from Australia will be entering categories,” Worsley said. “Spain is another focus. Traditionally, we’ve always been very in strong in France, especially Burgundy. But Spain is a real focus. A lot of the team’s passions are in Spain as well as the US. I think we’ve definitely filled in a very solid Spanish portfolio. The US is starting to build as well. We also had some glaring gaps in New Zealand and Rioja, with only one in each, so we’ve looked to fill those as well.”