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Berry Bros buys Richards Walford

London wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has added to its portfolio of businesses with the acquisition, subject to contract, of fine wine importer Richards Walford & Co.

Richards Walford was established in 1982 by Roy Richards and Mark Walford to import wines from prestigious producers throughout France, and operates its own Bordeaux négociant house.

Still a French specialist, Richards Walford has since expanded its business to include wines from the rest of Europe, as well as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and California.

In 2001, it bought Le Soula, a vineyard in the Roussillon region of France, which it operates as a joint venture with local winemaker Gérard Gauby.

‘We are delighted to be assuring the future of Richards Walford, and the links with customers and suppliers which are so important to us, by cementing our relations with Fields, Morris & Verdin, the agency division of Berry Bros & Rudd,’ said Roy Richards and Mark Walford in a joint statement.

‘This will enable our customers to benefit from the greater buying opportunity that an association with FMV will bring, and give our suppliers the advantage of access to a wider marketplace.’

John Hutton, agency director of Berry Bros & Rudd and managing director of Fields, Morris & Verdin and Mistral Wines, said, ‘Berry Bros & Rudd has always believed in having a strong, active presence in the UK, our home market, and the continued success of our agency division is fundamental to this long-term strategy.

‘Within the past eight years we have successfully merged Fields, Morris & Verdin, acquired Mistral Wines, and so we are now absolutely delighted to be adding the knowledge, expertise and wines that will come with the acquisition of Richards Walford and the opportunities that lie ahead working with FMV.’

With the Richards Walford deal Berry Bros will add a third agency to the two it already owns, Fields, Morris & Verdin and Mistral Wines.

The 300-year-old company has a turnover of £142m, with sales and distribution offices in Japan and Shanghai, and two shops in Hong Kong.

In the UK the wine division has the flagship shop in London, founded in 1698, and another in Basingstoke.

The UK business employs some 240 people plus approximately 40 overseas.

Written by Richard Woodard

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