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Looking ahead: Craig Durham, managing director, Buckingham Schenk

Published:  20 December, 2017

With the all-important Christmas trading period underway - and hopefully turning passion into profit for the UK’s wine and spirits operators - we at Harpers are looking ahead past New Year to see what’s in store for the trade in 2018.

We continue our series with insights from Buckingham Schenk MD Craig Durham.

What were the highs and lows for you and your business in 2017?

The market has of course been challenging for everybody in the trade and recent harvest shortages across Europe have added to this but there are still many positives for us look back on in 2017. Our continued success on introducing and selling more sparkling wines to the UK market and of course our fantastic progression within the on-trade are two great examples of this. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary of the Viñalba brand this year complete with La Casa del Vino Viñalba pop-up shop in London and what a way to finish the year by winning the IWSC 2017 Argentine Wine Producer of the Year.


What were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2017?

There has definitely been an increase in both trade and consumer interest in alternative sparkling wine to Prosecco. We have also seen an increase in more interesting varietals and DO's especially from Spain and Italy.


What trends do you predict for 2018?

Much more of the above to be honest with the additional desire for appasimento style of wines.


What are likely to be the biggest opportunities for the trade in 2018?

The above plus continued opportunities for premiumisation and gifting.


What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2018?

The Global economic uncertainty especially Brexit concern in the UK plus of course the vintage challenges across Europe will certainly make for an interesting year. For us there are no radical changes to be made but certainly a need to continue to react and adapt quickly as each new challenge arises and focus on our strengths.


Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2018?

I am fascinated to see how the Tesco and Booker partnership develops which is a unique and significant move in the UK market. Conviviality will of course continue to grow so it will be interesting to see what its  plans and development in 2018 bring.


What, for you, would make for a perfect Christmas?

To wake up and find out that Brexit was just a bad dream rather than a bad reality. To have time with my family and friends complete with a large glass of our Malbec in front of a roaring fire.


New Year's resolution?

Work smarter.