In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, we caught up with Nick Waterman, Managing Director of Yalumba. 

Yalumba focused on solidifying its internal structures and improving its domestic relationships in 2020, to help it continue to strive towards stronger connections with trade customers and end consumers in 2021.

One of the big moments for Yalumba in 2020 was to see the result of an 18+ month long restructure project relating to supply chains.

“We restructured our two Australian distribution businesses, Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia, to align to channel rather than the traditional geographical boundaries,” Managing Director Nick Waterman explained.

“We delivered to our valued trade customers a more focused sales team with detailed knowledge about wine and an understanding of each customer’s business sector.”

Further to this, Waterman said: “We have significantly added to our national account team responsible for supporting our major retail partners, and added a customer marketing function tasked with delivering customised trade activation programs for the key brands we represent.

“We were certified as a WSET educator during the year and began rolling out education to both our employees and customers. We also formally launched the Yalumba Sustainability Charter to consolidate, communicate and enhance our focus on being a sustainable company across numerous pillars of our business.”

Some more good news in line with this sustainability focus was the Yalumba Nursery being awarded a $1million grant from the SA Government, which was matched by Yalumba, helping it establish a germplasm nursery in the SA Riverland, giving the company the fighting edge in the consumer trend towards the ‘good for me, good for the planet’ category.

2021 in focus

Waterman said his immediate focus into 2021: “is about managing the unpredictability that we face due to COVID-19.”

But with some positive steps and accomplishments in the past 12 months, 2021 is already shaping up to be another strong year for the company.

“We are very much looking forward to opening our new Jansz Pontos Hills Winery in southern Tasmania in time to process the 2021 vintage in the second half of March. We have plans to continue to invest in Yalumba’s ‘Embrace the Magnificent Unknown’ campaign, an integrated above the line brandmarketing program… we will continue to invest in our virtual communications capability like Y-TV and our onsite winery experiences for local and domestic consumers,” Waterman said.

“As a generational family-owned business, we take a long-term view versus one of short-term financial expediency. As such, we will continue to invest in the future be that our vineyards, our brands, our logistics and production or importantly, our people.”

Raking in awards

There was no stopping Yalumba in 2020 as it pulled in various trophies and medals. The business received four trophies and 70 medals: including one platinum, 24 gold and 45 silver.

“On top of this, Yalumba The Caley 2015 was rated 98 points from James Suckling and was also one of only three wines that UK wine writer Matthew Jukes said he would take to a desert island,” Waterman said.

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