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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

Two leading lights in the development of Oddbins during the 1980s and 1990s - former buying and marketing director Steve Daniel and former resource director Joe Coyle - have put their retailing days behind them to set up a new company, Novum, which will deal exclusively with the on-trade. Operating from an office in Covent Garden, the new agency business incorporates the portfolio of Il Cesto, a specialist in small Italian producers that Novum's backers purchased from Antonio Cerilli last year. Another ex-Oddbins man, David Caadas, who was involved in setting up the retailer's corporate sales division and was most recently at Bibendum, will be in charge of Novum's sales. As well as the Il Cesto Italians - which include Veraldo, the Termeno Co-op and Ca'Rossa - Daniel told Harpers that Novum would be looking to concentrate on new wines which have never appeared in the market before, and which will never appear in retail'. Among the names already lined up are: Chile's Perez Cruz; Linda Domas, Thorpe and Parry Estate from the McLaren Vale; and Setanta from the Adelaide Hills. Daniel said other names from Italy, Spain, Australia, Austria and Greece would also be added soon. The new company represents a challenge for Daniel and Coyle, who have more than 30 years of combined experience in retail at Oddbins but none in selling to restaurants, Novum's principal focus. Explaining the switch to a new channel, Daniel said: I'd done retail once; I wanted to do something else. The on-trade takes wines that are far more interesting. It's a bit like Oddbins used to be, where if you've got a good sommelier, the wines are hand-sold. In terms of dealing with small emerging producers, it's the only place to be. Personally, it's a different discipline and a new challenge, not just in terms of our customers, but in going to a small rather than a big company.' Novum can be contacted on 020 7395 0290.