Direct Wines reshapes its buying and merchandising team

Direct Wines, the world's largest independent wine merchant with a turnover of £350 million, has announced major changes to its buying and merchandising teams.

The company, which trades as Laithwaites Wine, WSJ (Wall Street Journal wine club), Virgin Wines, the Australian Dozen Club and Virgin Wines, Château Direct (in partnership with Die Welt am Sonntag in Germnay), Winoteca Domowain (“wine at home” in Polish), the Wine Society of India, wants its buying and merchandising teams - responsible specifically for the Laithwaites Wine brand to enable it to work more closely as a global wine team and strengthen its international wine range across its businesses in the UK, US, continental Europe, Asia Pacific and India (where it has recently acquired a stake in the Wine Society of India).

Key promotions include:

Thomas Woolrych, currently head of buying – moves to the US to take up the role of wine director, USA - responsible for sourcing all of the US wines and for the merchandising of all of the wines marketed in the US.

Abi Hirshfeld, currently head of wine, becomes wine director – buying and planning responsible for the team of wine buyers in the UK and for a new global planning team which will ensure all wines are available to meet the needs of each of the international businesses.

Nick Taylor, currently wine director, USA – will return to the UK in March as merchandising director, for the Laithwaites Wine business in the UK, responsible for all the decisions around the wines sold in the UK.

Helen McEvoy, currently senior buyer will take a three month sabbatical in New Zealand, working on a winery to strengthen her knowledge of wine-making. She will return to the UK in April to take up a new role as wine manager – buying working with Hirshfeld and the buyers to improve and simplify all systems and processes for buying and selling wine.

Kevin Davis, currently category planning manager, will become head of global planning. He will be responsible for global buying & merchandising systems and processes; to ensure that the right wines are available to meet the needs across all the businesses internationally.

Becca Reeves, currently a buyer has been promoted to senior buyer and will continue to be responsible for wine buying in South Africa, Chile, Rhône and Provence.

Each of the new merchandising heads, (Woolrych in the US, Taylor in the UK, Fiona Warren-Tibbetts in Europe and emerging markets and Andrew Stead in Asia Pacific) will have a strong global wine range available to draw on to meet their particular market needs, says Direct.