Since working with UKTI, production at Ridgeview Wine Estate has increased from 30,000 bottles a year to 250,000 and exports now account for 20% of its business.
Sussex company Ridgeview really began to see export success after its 2002 vintage won the 2005 Yarden Trophy for non-Champagne sparkling wines in the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Soon after, it was contacted by a Japanese importer who placed an order. It then started exhibiting at the London International Wine Fair, a key event where it secured 2 export contracts: one to Finland and one to Holland.
Confident that there was global potential for its wines, in 2009 Ridgeview contacted UKTI for support in approaching new markets. An International Trade Adviser (ITA) suggested that the company begin by joining Passport to Export, the UKTI programme that helps businesses to prepare for international markets. This was instrumental in helping to devise an effective strategy for overseas growth.
Having beaten Champagne to win the 2010 Decanter World Wine Award for best sparkling wine, Ridgeview again attracted huge international interest, including from New York. The company received funding for a five-day visit through UKTI’s Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS), to get a feel for this market, find out what appetite there was for English sparkling wines and understand price points. Shortly after the trip, Ridgeview appointed Grand Cru as its distributor and has since also employed a Brand Ambassador both to support the growing business in New York and to set up in Washington DC.
UKTI continues to support Ridgeview through the following:
- an ITA is available to offer advice and guidance about which new markets to target and how
- in 2011, the UKTI team in Finland hosted a promotional event for Ridgeview at the British Ambassador’s residence in Helsinki, through its Overseas Market Introduction Service. Three new customers placed orders as a result, and the company hopes to repeat this success with a similar event in Washington DC in the near future;
- in 2013, funding through UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme allowed Ridgeview to exhibit at international trade fair Prowein in Dusseldorf, Germany; and
- UKTI’s Export Communications Review was useful in re-designing the company’s website to make it more appealing to international markets
UKTI case study for Ridgeview Wine Estates
“UKTI has been extraordinarily helpful to us and their support has really impacted our business,” says Mike Roberts, co-founder of Ridgeview Wine Estate. “Passport to Export really focussed our minds on developing a proactive strategy that would help us to achieve the export levels we were looking for. As well as the funding and practical support with events, we have benefitted from the individual mentoring that our ITA gives us.”