English cricket legend Sir Ian Botham says his wine range is on track to sell one million bottles by the end of 2019.
Botham launched the range last year with his business partner, former Accolade Wines boss Paul Schaafsma.
Schaafsma’s company, Benchmark Drinks, negotiated for the brand to be launched in the UK through high-end supermarket chain Waitrose, while in Australia it is currently stocked by Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters.
“Depending on range review times, we’re expecting greater distribution of the brand towards the end of this year in Australia based on the range review timetable that they have,” Schaafsma told the Australian Financial Review.
Currently, about 70% of sales come from Britain and 15% from Australia. In case your maths is a bit creaky, that translates to 150,000 bottle sales in Oz.
It’s been a big week for Botham, with Sir Ian Botham Wines winning a Special Commendation at The Drinks Business Awards 2019 for Best Launch.
He also hosted a wine tasting on Tuesday night at Australia House in London where he told the audience he now considers Australia is second home. He spends six months of the year Down Under developing wines with South Australia winemakers Geoff Merrill and Marty Edwards.
Botham explained that he insisted on the highest standards for the range, even at entry level.
“We’ve had lots of tussles over what goes into a wine, the entry-level wine. For the ‘All-Rounder’, Ian has insisted on 12, 13% regional fruit, which obviously lifts the cost of the wine,” Schaafsma said.
Botham explained: “From a quality standpoint it makes a hell of a difference.”
There are three tiers in the Sir Ian Botham Wines collection: a commercial range made up of a shiraz and chardonnay; a mid-tier range of reds and a white; and a premium Barossa shiraz and Adelaide Hills chardonnay.
The former cricketer is due to fly to Australia next month to sign off on next year’s range.