30 Minutes With Lance Pigott, Director at Vintage Roots, UK
Lance Pigott talks about the background of Vintage Roots, the opening and their approach to buying wines for the business.
Lance Pigott is a Director of specialist wines at Vintage Roots since 1986. They source only high-quality, certified organic and biodynamic wines from twelve different countries around the world and distribute them nationwide. In an interview with the team of London Wine Competition, Lance Pigott talks about the background of Vintage Roots, how they started and their approach to buying wines for the business.
Tell us something about the background to your business?
We started our business back in 1986 and from the start, we were committed to buying and promoting wines made from organic viticulture, as we firmly believed that this was the future of quality wine production. When you hear about the huge use of pesticides for the growing of grapes, and after we saw the effects of using general household rubbish to fertilize the vineyards in Champagne (which is now banned), we were committed to only buying wines from estates where organic methods of growing grapes were being used.
Why do you think your business stands out from the competition?
Our main USP is the same as it was 30 plus years ago. Buying, distributing and promoting certified organic and biodynamic wines. We have been at the forefront of offering wines that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They have been highlighted within our range for the past 28 plus years. More recently, our range now includes many wines (sparkling and still) that have ‘no Sulphur added’. There is a growing demand for this kind of wines.
Describe your approach to wine buying - what are you hoping to offer your customers?
We look to source good quality organic and BD wines from all the main wine producing regions of the world. We try to buy wines which are reasonably priced so that the everyday ‘drinker’ can access and enjoy them. We want to promote organics through the high quality and value of the wines.
What are the main wine countries and regions that you source your wines from?
Mainly from France Spain and Italy, but also from most New World countries, especially New Zealand, as we are seeing a concerted national push to eliminate chemicals in wine production.
Has that changed much in the last five years?
There are now many more organic wines becoming available, as many estates change their production methods. Everybody is now seemingly offering ‘organic, biodynamic, natural and sustainable wines’. The category is becoming too broad and there are a lot of companies offering ‘fake’ organic wine these days.
What are the key price points for you and why?
We try to find wines which the average wine consumer can access, which means that ‘on the shelf prices’ from £9- £15 is key.
What is the best way for a supplier to work with you?
Being honest, open and flexible.
What do you think will be the key wine regions/countries/ grapes/styles in the next 18 months?
More wines from Eastern and central Europe.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business?
Brexit being the most obvious and exchange rates. Also, the undermining of the organic message (uncertified wines) and the influx of low-quality organic wines flooding the market. Just because it is organic does not always mean it will be ‘good enough’ quality.
The biggest opportunities for your business?
The consumer’s (and buyers) increased awareness and support for wines made as ‘naturally’ as possible without jeopardizing quality and value.
About the Author
Richard Siddle is an award-winning business editor with over 25 years of experience working across a number of fields including computing, FMCG, grocery and convenience retailing, travel and for the last 10 years wine and spirits. Richard now runs his own business website, The-Buyer.net, that looks to offer insight and analysis for the premium on-trade.