Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

New Zealand-owned drinks company Lion Nathan has parted company with its UK distributors Mentzendorff and D&D International, and teamed up with Bibendum to form a new joint-venture UK office for its Australian wine division. The joint venture, claimed to be a UK first, will be 51% owned by Lion Nathan and 49% by Bibendum. Based in Bibendum's UK office, it will have its own general manager and trade marketing manager, supported by the Bibendum team, and reporting to Bibendum managing director Dan Jago and the Lion Nathan Wine Group UK board. We believe this joint venture will create one of the most effective production and distribution platforms in the UK wine business, focusing on the needs of the customer,' said Peter Cowan, managing director of the Lion Nathan Wine Group. The added attractiveness of a joint venture is that as partners, we will be in a stronger position to manage our own destiny.' Jago added: Nobody has done this before. Nobody has formed a genuine partnership with a producer, sharing the costs and the platform. In the context of the market, where you have producers costs on the one hand and retailer demands on the other, it makes sense to share the implications.' The Lion Nathan Wine Group brands -Petaluma, Knappstein, St Hallett, Tatachilla, Mitchelton and Stonier from Australia; Wither Hills from New Zealand; and Argyle from Oregon - will make their first appearance as part of the new JV at Bibendum's annual tasting in London on 2 February, with the six Australian brands moving on to the Australia Day Tastings in London on the following two days. Responding to the announcement, Bill Page, managing director of LNWG's current UK agent Mentzendorff, stressed that the parting of ways was a mutual decision', which was as much the result of a six-month strategic review' of Mentzendorff's Australian wine business, as a change in direction from Lion Nathan. He also announced that Mentzendorff had added a new Western Australian agency, Sandalford, to fill the gap left by the vacating LNWG brands. We have always chosen to work with family-owned wineries who have long-term ambitions and a passion for wine quality,' Page said. The Prendivilles - owners of Sandalford - share these values, and we welcome them in to the Mentzendorff team.'