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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire wine business uncorks £8m investment

A Cheltenham-based wine brand developer and distributor has received an £8m investment from BGF to support further growth.

L-R: Ant Fairbank (co-founder), Andy Talbot (MD), Paul Letheren (co-founder)

Established in 2007 by Paul Letheren and Ant Fairbank, Off-Piste Wines has developed a portfolio of modern wines, divided between its own proprietary brands - such as Most Wanted and Pinot Pinot, and private-label brands for the UK's largest supermarkets, supplying all the major retailers.

The business sources wine from 11 different countries. Most recently, having identified a trend in the US for wine in a can, Off-Piste Wines launched a lightly sparkling Pinot Grigio range under its Most Wanted and Pinot Pinot brands.

Off-Piste Wines reached sales of £40m in 2018 and was listed on the 2019 Sunday Times HSBC International Fast Track 200.

The investment from BGF will be used to develop the business's long-term growth strategy, including the expansion of its wine range and development of new partnerships and international distribution.

Andy Fennell, former CMO and regional president at Diageo, will be joining the board at completion as chair.

Andy Talbot, MD of Off-Piste Wines, said: "We set up the business 13 years ago to do things differently. Having expert product knowledge is one thing - working closely with retailers and offering consumers wines and labels that they really want is another.

"Since then, we have developed strong, trusted partnerships with a carefully selected group of like-minded producers in our favourite regions, to bring customers an impressive selection of wine in all shapes and sizes.

"We're delighted to be partnering with BGF for this exciting next step - having an investor with market expertise and that is also invested in our vision for the business is crucial."

Alex Garfitt, an investor at BGF who will join the board of Off-Piste Wines, said: "Off-Piste Wines is an exceptionally innovative business, bucking the trend of traditional wine distributors and carving out a niche with its own brands, which have seen impressive growth.

"We're looking forward to working with Andy, Paul, Ant and the team to take the business to the next level, exploring new products, markets and partnerships to further cement Off-Piste Wines' track record and reputation, both in the UK and internationally."

Andy Fennell, incoming chair of Off-Piste Wines, said: "Off-Piste Wines is a really impressive business, created by a fantastic team. The company has established an excellent track record and reputation in the market, and I am excited to be joining for this next stage of growth."

The investment was led for BGF by Alex Garfitt, Edwin Davies, James Skade and Hannah Waters.

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