|Bill Hardy vows to protect family name|
|Written by Gemma McKenna|
|Wednesday, 10 October 2012 09:21|
Bill Hardy, winemaker and family member at the leading Australian wine brand, is intent on safeguarding his heritage and has no intention of stepping down from the firm his family built.
Hardy, now brand ambassador for the Accolade Wines-owned Hardys brand, celebrated his 40th anniversary at Hardys this year, but isn't ready to step away from the brand.
Speaking to Harpers in London yesterday, he said he had "no intention of going anywhere". "It's a business my family have been building for five generations - not something you walk away from."
"The family ownership of the business has more or less evaporated, but the fact that it carries the family name means a lot. It's incredibly important for me to make sure our name is not abused or driven down.
"Whether we're owners or not doesn't mean nearly as much as the fact our family built it."
Hardy also emphasised the brand's continued focus on the UK market - 70% of its exports, which make up a total of 70% of sales - are to the UK. He said other markets still looked here for the latest trends.
Paul Schaafsma, who heads up the group's UK business, said it was "more determined than ever" to focus on the UK.
Hardy said the issues of oversupply Australia had struggled with in the past were coming to an end. "The first sign of change is the price of grapes. The prices we got in 2000 were way higher than later on - prices were eroded for 12 to 15 years. Jus this year they started to creep up again."
Indeed, he said some companies were "scrambling" to get hold of supply between the 2011 and 2012 vintages. "I'm kind of hoping it will be the impetus to see a move up on prices," he said.
Schaafsma was more cautious - signalling that price increases would not happen overnight. "I think we can get there, but the solution is portfolio play," he added.
Encouraging consumers to buy within the range - Hardys recently introduced a new stepping stone level at rrp £8.99 with its William Hardy label - should help consumers to move up within the category.
"Building a portfolio of products taking you up in steps [is key]", Schaafsma said, to achieving a "different skew of sales that's more sustainable in the longterm."