Having recently launched a range of Australian wines in the UK, Sir Ian Botham has revealed ambitious plans for an English sparkling wine priced at £45 a bottle.
Speaking to the drinks business at Beefy’s Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on the eve of the fourth Test match between England and India, Botham said:
“I love English sparkling wine and would love to find a partner to work with us. We’re happy to talk to anyone as long as it might fall into the quality of the style we’re looking for.”
Botham’s business partner, former Accolade CEO Paul Schaafsma, who represents Botham’s wines via his distribution company Benchmark Drinks, revealed the pair are aiming for a price point of £45 for the sparkling wine.
Schaafsma expects Berry Bros & Rudd, which has taken 300 six-packs of Botham’s top tier Shiraz from the premium ‘Sir Ian’ label, to sell the bubbly.
“The problem’s not finding the producer, it’s finding the quantity. We need 500 dozen from an English producer who would like to partner with us and fall under the Botham brand,” Schaafsma told db.
“They’ll make the wine and sign off what the cuvée is. One producer was very keen to progress, and we got to the point where we needed 6,000 bottles, but they didn’t have it. They said it would take another two years for them to be able to get the wine,” he added.
Botham’s premium Shiraz was bottled four weeks ago and will be available in the UK this autumn. In Australia, Dan Murphy and Woolworths have taken a slightly smaller allocation, which will reach their stores in October.
A further expansion of Botham’s still wine range is being lined up for next year, with plans to bring in some rosé from Provence as well as some Spanish reds from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat, as Botham is a big fan of Spanish wine.
“We’re going to Provence next March and will visit some producers we like. There’s three of four we’d like to target with a view to securing wine from next year’s harvest,” Botham revealed.
By Geoffrey Dean