|Louis Latour Agencies looks to bolster portfolio|
|Written by Gemma McKenna|
|Thursday, 13 December 2012 13:18|
Louis Latour Agencies is looking to boost its portfolio with producers from Champagne and Spain.
Managing director Dan Bolton said the family-owned firm had seen double digit growth this year and was keen to add key premium, family agencies, but that it was not under pressure to do so quickly.
Louis Latour Agencies is wholly owned by major Burgundy producer and negociant Maison Louis Latour, but acts as agent for a select number of producers from around the world, including New Zealand's Craggy Range and Chile's Viu Manent.
Bolton told Harpers: "We're very selective when it comes to who we work with. It's not about chasing profit - we're looking for partnerships that will last for the next 25 years."
He added that Spain was a major target, ahead of Italy, given how "sexy" it is in the on-trade right now.
In the past year the company has added two new sales staff to its London team, and Bolton is keen to recruit an additional person to cater for that market.
It currently employs 12 staff and its business is split evenly between the on-trade and independent customers.
He said that 2012 had been a tough year and predicted more of the same for 2013, while adding that there were "pockets of growth". "Anyone who says they're not looking for new business is lying: you've got to keep moving forward," he said.
Thanks to the short harvests of 2012, Bolton said price increases from Burgundy were inevitable and a "huge challenge". He said they could range anywhere between 5 and 30%."We've been working really hard with the French to minimise increases, be creative and find alternatives where we can. But it's not easy," he warned. Since the firm is owned by Maison Louis Latour it is fortunate to have access to "good reserves of quality wines from previous vintages that we can bring to market, but there will be increases".
"It's not easy, but that's the reality," he said.
"We are at an advantage to be owned by a family with 200 years of history. They're loyal to the UK - they've seen the dips and bubbles before and don't want to lose market share."
Bolton has headed up Louis Latour Agencies for 18 months. Prior to that he was sales director at Bibendum.