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Accolade plans major UK push for Hardys

The new general manager of Accolade Wines in the UK is on a mission to see Hardys competing 'at every price point' in the country's wine market.

Paul Schaafsma (pictured) told Decanter.com that Accolade plans to relaunch Hardys next year and wants to rebuild pride in the brand by going up against some of the most upmarket wines in the UK.

‘Hardys is the jewel in our crown,’ he said in an interview following the launch of Accolade’s Wine Nation 2012 report. ‘We make serious premium wines, but we haven’t created a distribution platform for that in the UK.’

Although Hardys is best-known as a pioneer of mainstream, Australian wine, Schaafsma highlighted awards for higher-priced varieties like Eileen Hardy, a AUD$72-a-bottle Tasmanian Chardonnay, and the HRB range.

‘We’ve got so many premium vineyards all over Australia, but we are not communicating that,’ said Schaafsma, who left McGuigan parent company Australian Vintage at the end of August to take up his new role.

‘If there’s one thing I want to do at this business, I want to make the Hardys brand more hierarchical,’ he said. ‘I want to see Hardys in Majestic, in the on-trade, in the key dot.com platforms. I want to focus at every price point, rather than just at the commercial end.’

He intends to begin the process by giving every Accolade employee a copy of Hardys’ official 160-year history.

‘I expect them to read it cover-to-cover,’ he said.

Asked whether Accolade might make more money by pushing premium Hardys wine in other markets, Schaafsma said he is ‘an eternal optimist’ about the UK. Accolade, he said, ‘has the right model’ to succeed in the country.

  • During the Wine Nation report presentation, Schaafsma called on all alcoholic drinks makers in the UK to unite against further rises in duty tax. He added that he would favour a reduced duty tax rate for wines at 8.5% abv or under.

Written by Chris Mercer

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