Argentine steakhouse Gaucho has set out to re-establish itself as the leading Argentine wine specialist in the UK, following a tumultuous year where it was bought out of administration, bringing in ex-Wines of Argentina marketing director Andrew Maidment to oversee its wine list.
The chain was bought out of administration in September as part of a rescue deal that allowed for all of its restaurants to remain open, while Martin Williams, the founder and CEO of M Restaurants, was appointed its new CEO.
Lomo Bidco Limited (“Lomo Bidco”), a new company created and owned by Investec Bank plc and SC Lowy, acquired the chain from the group’s parent company, Gioma, owned by private equity firm Equistone.
Now, the restaurant chain is looking forward, with the aim of reclaiming its crown as the UK’s Argentina wine specialist, built under the stewardship of Gaucho’s former head of wine, Phil Crozier, who left the group in April.
In the past month, Williams has added 100 wines to the list, and appointed Andrew Maidment, former Director of Wines of Argentina Europe, to oversee a new approach to wine buying.
With the aim of completely overhauling the group’s current wine buying strategy, Maidment will join the group with a specific focus on bringing in more wines direct from the country’s most cutting-edge producers, giving greater opportunities to small, independent wineries who don’t currently sell wines in the UK or are only able to import in very low volumes.
“We see it as a duty for Gaucho to champion small growers and offer the chance for new wineries to enter the UK market,” said Maidment. “Having a diverse, market-leading wine list is great for both Gaucho’s customers and the Argentine industry.”
Further changes will include a move away from own labels, a wider selection at more affordable price points and a focus on wines from growers that demonstrate both positive social and environmental impact via their projects.
“During my previous tenure, Gaucho was the authority on Argentine wine in the UK, with one of the most comprehensive Argentine wine lists in the world, which made up a core part of the group’s DNA,” added Williams. “Over the years, the list was vastly reduced, however pioneering Argentine wine in the UK is something that I believe is fundamental to our future.”
As part of its restructure, Maidment will also oversee the reinstatement of The Gaucho Argentine Winemaker Awards, which were previously held at the restaurant, and will be hosted by Maidment to celebrate the ‘heroes and innovators’ of Argentine Winemaking on Thursday 14th March 2019 at Gaucho Piccadilly.
Gaucho operates 13 restaurants in the UK and three overseas in Hong Kong, Dubai and Buenos Aires. It also has an online wine shop, where customers can choose from the carefully curated list of wines on the restaurant’s list, to be delivered to the home.