Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year’s Message from Justerini & Brooks

Posted by Justerini & Brooks

2014 was an exciting year for Justerini & Brooks. Despite continuing challenges in the wider wine market the business grew, but not without work.

We saw particular success with our portfolio of Burgundy, Champagne and Italian wines, all of which have continued to be increasingly demanded by our customers. This year’s Barolo campaign was the first for Justerini & Brooks to exceed £1million sales in the month it was released, with a further £1million sold in older vintages over the following few months. A well-deserved and exciting development for a region we began importing into the UK a generation or so ago with the 1989 vintage.

The demand for prestige and artisan Champagnes in 2014 proved to be even stronger with our customers, with Champagne sales almost surprisingly growing by 20% on the year before. Some quality vintages and a broadening portfolio sit behind that. Sadly, the same success cannot be said of Bordeaux, with the 2013 en primeur campaign being the smallest Bordeaux campaign for Justerini & Brooks since the 1990s. Though we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Bordeaux still remains quite substantially the biggest area of our business. We've also noticed a strengthening in demand of older vintages of Bordeaux over the past six months at these new prices, with the successful sale of several substantial and world-class cellars through our broking team.

As for customers, the United Kingdom continues to be our single biggest market, with just over half our business done servicing the wine collections of our customers here in the UK. A further 40% of our customers are based all across Asia - now as north as Beijing, as south as Perth, as west as Delhi, and as east as Tokyo. It is a pleasure to see us moving to second generation customers in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong and Singapore, markets we began looking after in 1976. It was a full 110 years earlier than that, in 1866, that Justerini & Brooks first began to attract overseas customers to its portfolio, initially with the United States. It has been a quiet few years for our American business, though we are now seeing a slow upturn, with New York remaining by far the biggest part of that market for us. As it was originally.

Within the business, our window cleaner and our Chairman both celebrated 40 years with Justerini & Brooks. One of whom has helped bring a sparkle to how we display ourselves in St. James's, the other has proved to be an invaluable steward. Hew Blair's clear vision and commitment to quality has been instrumental in building the continuing success of Justerini & Brooks through the changing times of these past few decades. We have a customer base more vibrant and active than we've ever known, and a huge collection of fine wine estates that we represent; a collection that is arguably unrivaled around the world.

Our customers and ourselves have much to be excited about in 2015. And like with much at Justerini & Brooks, it shall start with Burgundy.

We wish a very happy New Year to all our customers.

Chadwick Delaney
Managing Director