A Taste of
The Vinorium

Issue: 53 / Sunday 13 January, 2019

 

Our Financial & Performance Report for the Year Ended 2018.

Unusually, I chose a quiet Christmas and except for one day, I intentionally kept myself away from the office until the team returned on the 2 January. Much time was spent reacquainting myself with my bike saddle and hours of stretching afterwards as quality training miles plummet with the Christmas rush.

I am not one for holidays and prefer to work throughout the year which makes it difficult to detach oneself from the emotion and physicality of running your own company, which is exactly how I like to operate; hands on, with emotion but being careful not to lose sight of the bigger, commercial picture.  Many spiritual teachings and traditions teach the benefits of living with non-attachment. The belief of a Buddhist is to live with detachment, a sign of spiritual maturity. It is believed that as attachment grows, so does the fear of losing the very person or object we wish for. The balance, as I understand it, is not to abandon relationships, dreams and aspirations. Instead, to allow life to take its natural course and be accepting of difficulties, in turn losing the fear of loss itself.

Despite this only being our second, full company report, I found myself looking back at my company’s journey so far and wondering what my and my team’s future may hold. This has been a cathartic, thought-provoking and at times, an inspirational exercise. More so than any other time during my long wine career.  

Observant ones will have noticed our new logo. A rebrand was necessary to separate the link to Z&B Vintners who were effectively, the controlling company behind The Vinorium. I founded Z&B in 2005 as a Bordeaux specialist but and over the course of the past four years, The Vinorium has taken centre stage. Today, it is our primary focus and certainly has the reputation to stand alone, which it now proudly does. Z&B Vintners has ceased trading with all legal titles passing to The Vinorium Limited and to answer an immediate question - yes, we will be offering Bordeaux En-Primeur wines as the allocations amassed over the years with Z&B have passed to The Vinorium. Your 2016 & 2017 Bordeaux En-Primeur purchases will be delivered through the normal channels.

In a snapshot, and as reported last year, our financial year ending 2017 was successful with gross turnover increasing by £2.783 million compared to our 2016 reported figures with operating profits of £1,433,736.

Our profit position after tax stood at £1,145,969. Online orders saw a substantial 68% increase compared to 2016. Our stock position increased significantly to a closing balance of £1,549,500 (our cost value not sales value). Borrowings were zero and debt or exposure to bad debt was zero.  All-in-all, 2017 was a tremendous year and an exceptional achievement from a small team of six.

2017 was going to be a difficult act to follow. More importantly it was essential we were able to show sustainability in our business concept which baulks at the idea of our industry norm. 2018 has been another record-breaking year and my personal high has been the evolution of The Vinorium, which is simply down to my amazing team. They’re a super-talented, hardworking bunch who never shy away from a challenge and certainly the best team I have had the pleasure to work with. Of course, we are immensely proud of our Decanter & IWC Australian Wine Merchant of the Year awards, which is recognition of our hard work and innovation over the year(s). It has been an honour to work exclusively with some of Australia’s best winemakers, which again highlights The Vinorium is the UK’s number one home for their precious wines.

Full management accounts have been prepared for our financial year ended 31 December 2018. Our turnover has increased to £4,214 million with our gross operating profit of £1,535 million. Pleasingly, and despite the large corporation tax bill due, our net operating profit for the year end stands at £1,062 million which we are delighted with. Our closing stock position (cost not sales value) stands at £1,841 million. Our website is an integral source of communication and revenue, which saw an increase of 51.5% (online orders) with August being the record-breaking month (a 157% increase compared to August 2017 & 100 lines / wines selling out). Our volume of invoices raised increased by 49.5%.

As with our 2017 accounts, I am delighted to run our business without borrowings, an overdraft facility, zero debt or exposure to bad debt. Furthermore, and something we are all incredibly proud of, is to achieve such consistently strong figures with a team of six (including me).

The following figures & graphs represent our financial year ended, 31 December 2018. Full accounts will be filed on Companies House shortly.

 

Top 10

Power List by Producer

£1.379 Million Sales Value

68,341 Bottles Sold 

 

No.1

£417,485 - 22,463 bottles sold

No.2

£327,981 - 10,242 bottles sold

No.3

£141,703 - 5,119 bottles sold

No.4

£86,505 - 1,750 bottles sold

No.5

£79,002 - 4,593 bottles sold

No.6

£71,615 - 11,456 bottles sold

 

No.7

£69,459 - 2,742 bottles sold

No.8

£67,206 - 1,542 bottles sold

 

No.9

£59,126 - 5,282 bottles sold

 

No.10

£59,122 - 3,152 bottles sold

 

Sales by Country

(Bottles Sold)

 

Power List by Grape Variety

Red Varietals (Bottles Sold)

 

White Varietals (Bottles Sold)

 

Our Wine of the
Year 2018

 

2014 La Judith Pinot Noir
Magically Crafted by Nick Glaetzer

We’ve had the privilege of some truly epic wines this year with several coming within a cat’s whiskers of being nominated our 2018 Wine of the Year. Dan Standish, Greg Harrington MS and his co-winemaker, Brandon Moss, Ed Carr, Francis Egly, Andy Smith and Paul Lato are some of the most gifted winemakers around today, but we tip our hat to Tasmanian winemaker, Nick Glaetzer and his, quite extraordinary
2014 La Judith Pinot Noir. 

All these winemakers are truly gifted; they trust their instincts, their natural understanding of their craft instead of relying upon science, which translates to pure, minimally handled fruit which in turn offer the fullest expression of themselves.  

La Judith is a tribute to Nick’s late mother and produced in tiny quantities (251 bottles). I’ll confess, I was nervous when I first sampled the wine as I could not imagine how cool climate Tasmanian Pinot Noir would handle 3 years in brand new oak barriques. Surely a gimmick resulting in a wine of excessive oak which throttles the aromatics and perfume of the grape? How wrong I was… The bouquet is breathtakingly heady and fills the room with black & red cherries, plums, violets, rose and sweet spices. The selection of the Pinot Noir must have been a tireless act as the sheer power (not what one expects from Tasmanian Pinot Noir) is a skyscraper in size and something I have never encountered from the apple isles. The palate is exquisite and judged to absolute perfection. Seamless and endless layers of sweet, deep, exotic fruit. Mineral-rich, spicy with a touch of bitter orange peel. Signs of earth / truffle notes but these are ten years away from taking centre stage. Truly spectacular with a finish which never ends (thank goodness). A New World masterpiece and the stuff dreams are made of. Best served in a Zalto Burgundy glass.

The back label is minimalistic with a small quote from Nick “She will be praised”.
She will certainly be proud, that’s for sure…

99+ Points Stuart McCloskey

£100.00 per bottle

 

Winner:
​Best Value White of 2018

 

Bay of Fires Chardonnay 2015

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey

"Hand-picked from the Coal River Valley, East Coast and Derwent Valley, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in French oak from five different coopers. Deep aromas of gunflint and ripe, yellow stone fruits harmoniously fused with layers of mineral complexity and a touch of nutty oak. Medium to full-bodied and a silk-like mouthfeel. The palate is drenched with ripe stone fruits and a density, opulence, energy and drive which is quite extraordinary given the wine’s value. Every grape is assessed for its quality and character, hand-picked with care and thoughtfully considered for its winemaking potential. Each fruit parcel is kept separate, which ensures the core of its flavour components are captured at precisely the right moment. Each batch of wine is matured in the finest oak, resulting in a wine that is deeply impressive. Please do not miss this wine's exhilarating complexity and pedigree. Truly remarkable for the price and quite simply the best Chardonnay I have ever sampled at this price level.  Magnificent. Superb now and enjoy to 2023. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware".

£14.50 per bottle

£11.95 a bottle per case of 12 

 

Winner:
Best Value Red of 2018

Leung Estate Ma Maison Pinot Noir 2015

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey

“An incredibly exciting wine from the boutique winery based in Martinborough. Dark, brooding with a wonderful perfume - full of the aromas of Autumn. Damson, cinnamon, spice and a touch of woodsmoke. The palate exudes intense, luscious and concentrated flavours of sweet, ripe damson, plum, spiced cherry and black fruits. The quality of the fruit enriches the fleshy mouthfeel which is so satisfying and moreish. Lots of drive and energy too. The texture is luxurious and balanced perfectly with fine-grained supporting tannins. A superb wine which flows seamlessly and lasts on the palate forever. Just beautiful” Zalto Burgundy glass is a must!

£22.95 per bottle

 

Winner:
Best Champagne /
Sparkling Wine of 2018

House of Arras Late Disgorged 2003

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"Extraordinarily left on the lees for 12 full years and disgorged June 2015. This is far from a New World gimmick - Mind-bogglingly brilliant and without question, the greatest sparkling wine outside of Champagne and better than many within. A sublime blend of 61% Chardonnay & 39% Pinot Noir which offers a profusion of aromatics and flavours. The wine delivers mouth-filling generosity with nutty honeycomb, toasted brioche, bread (a factor of the extended lees contact), toasted grains, caramel and citrus notes. I detect some ocean sea salinity which makes sense given the marine location. Clearly, the wines maturity is for all to see however, the purity and finesse is quite staggering. A towering masterpiece, riveting, difficult to share as several glasses is never enough and I honestly can't imagine it getting any better. Truly epic and the New World benchmark. Almost perfect! Served using Zalto universal. Only 2,200 bottles produced."

£57.95 per bottle

 
 

The Year Ahead...

We believe we are ready to push-on to the next level and are certainly not going to drown in the ensuing fears of Brexit and the possible issues the UK wine industry will face.  As Henry Ford said “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals” which is so true. This week, we have made a formal offer to purchase our own land and develop our purpose-built HQ. It’s a beautiful, rural spot (a ten-minute hop from our current home) with 4.5 acres and stunning views, which I hope will offer an holistic working environment for my team and I, and an amazing experience for our customers and visiting winemakers. The current farm building will be demolished and our sustainable and environmentally friendly HQ will take its place. 

Whilst many wine merchants are shrinking back at the thought of a bad Brexit, which looks more inevitable by the day, we are in the position to buy and build something quite spectacular which we are looking forward to sharing with you. As ever, we like to involve our customers wherever possible. Currently, we are seeking an architect to assist with the design. A prerequisite must be centred around design flair. We are seeking excellence, visual perfection, expertise with eco-builds and the ability to offer innovation in the complete build concept. Email me directly if you would like to be part of the team. 

As a new year begins and our business continues to grow, so The Vinorium team begins to grow with it. 2018 was an incredible year but we enter 2019 with bigger and better plans which need a few more hands. Whilst we welcome Peter, Shontelle and Gayle, we wish Jody much love as she leaves for her first child…

Magda has done an incredible job running and growing the entire private client sector of The Vinorium, which is no easy task as our customers are scattered globally. This year I felt it was time for Magda to share her ‘Vinorium’ wisdom and experience and expand the private client team with the addition of Peter.

With five years’ experience in wine retail and four years before that building and looking after the wine list of a restaurant, it was time for me to step up, take on a new challenge and to utilise the wealth of wine knowledge and experience I have gained within wine retail so far. I discovered The Vinorium about a year ago and wishing to move forward in my career felt that I that I had to get in touch. As a company their forward-thinking approach to the wine industry, drive to continually improve, transparency and environmental ethics impressed me and I felt that if I was to continue moving forward in the wine industry, this had to be the company to be part of. Coming from more of an old-world wine background but knowing that many of the exciting developments and innovations in wine are happening in the new world, it is a pleasure to now be working for an Australian specialist. The team gave myself and the other new members a warm welcome before Christmas with a glass of House of Arras Brut Elite and I’ve settled in well so far enjoying the positive energy and daily atmosphere in the office. Opening a bottle of wine to share with our team lunches and discussing the wines poured has been an impressive touch and a rare experience that ensures that every member of the team has an intimate knowledge of the wines and is a crucial, daily part of team bonding. The wines I have tasted so far have been extraordinary and have opened my eyes to the quality of Australian wines, my favourite to date being the Henry’s Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2002”.

 

Shontelle joins the Client Service and Logistics team and her years of extensive experience in various roles that include administrative and sales duties, as well as the irreplaceable experiences gained through her many travels of which she seems to have an unquenchable thirst for. Shontelle’s passion for wine is beginning to grow on a daily basis, it is impossible not to working here, and will continue grow the longer she is part the team.

Always impressive is an ability to bake but Shontelle is yet to deliver on her promise of bringing in some of her famous tray bakes so until she does, we refuse to believe her!

“I very much ‘stumbled’ across The Vinorium in my search for a new role, an industry quite different to any I’ve worked in previously.  I found the idea of working within the Wine Industry quite an exciting one!  Right from the start, Stu and the team made myself and the other new members feel very much at home.  We shared together a delicious glass of House of Arras and The Vinorium plans for 2019, which I have to say, are absolutely fantastic! It’s certainly made me extremely happy to be a part of the team here and I look forward to the year ahead.  The Vinorium have been crystal clear in every aspect of what they do, work very hard to achieve their goals and always remain positive and enthusiastic for the future – which creates an excellent office environment to work in.  I am thoroughly enjoying the varied, busy role and learning more each day about the world of wine! I particularly enjoy the daily wine tasting; sharing a bottle of Egly Ouriet VP Extra Grand Cru for Magda’s birthday has been a particular highlight and I would say that this has been my favourite wine so far”

 

Gayle, whose predominant background has been in finance and in particular, data analytics also joins the Client Services and Logistics team. Along with Shontelle, they will both be taking up the mantle whilst Jody is away on maternity leave and Natalie moves into our finance team. Already possessing a growing passion for wine and independently putting herself through the WSET levels two and three, Gayle had a bourgeoning desire to be part of the wine trade and was delighted to find a role that combines both her professional experience and personal passion.

“I have always had an interest in wine, visiting vineyards and tastings with friends and family on trips away.  Two holidays to Australia remain my most memorable, including trips to Hunter Valley and Tasmania. I was hoping to incorporate this interest into a career, having gained some initial qualifications.  It was an opportunity not to be missed to apply to The Vinorium, a Decanter Award winning Australian Specialist.  I have been welcomed into this friendly and knowledgeable team and am looking forward to the experiences ahead of me.  In particular, learning about and tasting the impressive range of wines.”

 
 

Our Wine Offerings

Excluding Bordeaux En-Primeur, physical Bordeaux stocks and special one-off parcels, we have ultimately taken the decision to delist all wines / countries other than Australia, New Zealand and the USA. As previously communicated, The Vinorium is an outright Australian specialist, which is something we do not wish to dilute. To the contrary, as we are currently liaising with twenty new wineries which we hope to bring to the UK on an exclusive basis. New Zealand is our second priority and we are working hard to bring new exclusivities or at the very least, increase our portfolio dramatically. We adore the wines from the USA however, and when it comes down to the financial crunch, they’re expensive (comparatively speaking) however, our aim is to seek-out new exclusivities which will offer throughout the year.

 
 

2019: Financials So Far…

(1st January 2019 to 31 December 2019).

Despite the health fashion of a dry January, the majority of Vinorium customers are pleasingly not taking part, which is a relief. Turnover for the first ten days are more than encouraging with sales increasing by £190,000 (compared to 2018).

All that is left is for me to thank you for your continued and loyal support. Simply, without you there is no Vinorium and I believe the wine world is a much better place for it.

My very best wishes,

Stu