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Antique Wine Co pushes ahead with Asia expansion

Antique Wine Co has said that a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US will not deter it from pursuing its expansion strategy in Asia, after it appointed a sales director for the region.

Antique Wine Co appoints first Asia sales director

Antique Wine Co’s (AWC) first Asia sales director is Hong Kong-based Jean-Philippe Guillot, who was previously export director for Bordeaux wine magnate Bernard Magrez in the region.

Guillot will focus on improving AWC’s private client contacts and sales, especially in the Philippines, which the UK-based fine wine merchant has identified as a key growth market.

News of the appointment comes as AWC continues to face a $25m lawsuit over the sale of allegedly fake wines.
Earlier this year, collector Julian LeCraw Jr filed the suit in Atlanta, US, claiming that AWC knowingly sold him several fakes, including a bottle of 1787 vintage Chateau d’Yquem for $90,000 plus insurance.

However, AWC denies wrongdoing and has asked the court to dismiss the case.

‘The lawsuit in the US is undesirable and AWC vigorously refutes the allegations,’ AWC’s chief executive, Steven Williams, told Decanter.com. ‘However, this will not deter the company from fully executing its expansion plans.’

He said AWC put in place a long-term growth strategy two years ago, which included raising capital and recruitment.

The firm has benefited alongside rivals from the rise of Asia-based, fine wine buyers in recent years, and Asia currently accounts for 42% of AWC’s annual sales.

Of the Asia-based markets, Guillot said the Philippines is underdeveloped.

‘The Philippines is one of the region’s fastest growing economies with an English speaking population and burgeoning middle class. AWC already supplies major corporate outfits, including Sofitel Manila.’

Written by Chris Mercer

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