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Mike Paul heads up joint venture

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

SAINSBURY'S and Oddbins have confirmed details of their long-anticipated joint venture (Harpers, print edition, 27 October 2000) and announced the appointment of Mike Paul, formerly European director of Southcorp Wines, as managing director. The company, which will be called The Destination Wine Company - and not, as wags have suggested, Sainsbins or Soddbury's - will begin trading at the end of the month. Its initial offer, which will be rolled out in 100 Sainsbury's and 50 Oddbins' stores, will consist of three mixed cases at 4 plus per bottle, sourced from the existing Sainsbury's and Oddbins' lists. These will be marketed under the "Taste for Wine" brand developed by The Taste Network, the media joint venture company developed by Sainsbury's and Carlton. "The wines will be a selection of the best from each retailer at a given price point," said Paul. "We're not necessarily aiming for 18 wines from each." The contents of the cases will change every six weeks. The beginning of April will see the launch of a more extensive mail order catalogue selected by buying director Claire Gordon-Brown MW and a panel consisting of Steve Daniel of Oddbins and Jane Hughes of Sainsbury's. The size of the list will depend on "the level of value and quality we get", added Paul. Gordon-Brown will work through Oddbins' and Sainsbury's buying teams and brief them on range, strategy and promotions. The Taste for Wine brand will be launched online in May. Paul said that wines from other sources will be considered too. "Our aim is to promote diversity and develop exclusivities." He denied that Taste for Wine will compete with its parent companies: "We're looking for incremental business." The Destination Wine Company is currently based in The Ark at Hammersmith, west London, but will relocate within the next six months, possibly to Richmond. It currently has four employees: Paul, Gordon-Brown, Howard Price (marketing director) and Shaun Harvey (finance director). Paul is looking to increase staffing levels to 20 by the end of the year.