Fine Wine Buyer

Introduction

As one of Britain’s oldest fine wine merchants, founded in 1854, Lay & Wheeler has long stewarded an exceptional range of wines. It’s by investing deeply in buying relationships and related activities have we been able to sustain over one hundred and sixty years working with the very finest wine producers.

It is the responsibility of the buying team to look after these relationships, and indeed the entire range of wines. The work starts with the producer directly, or in some cases the agency responsible for importing the wine. Buying activities extend past the decision to support certain producers: from market analyses and pricing work to organising tastings and ensuring suppliers are paid accurately and on time.

In addition, we believe that in order to buy wine effectively, the buyer should also be deeply involved in selling it. To that end, our buyers also lead merchandising decisions, and are responsible for communicating the key selling points about a wine either directly to our customers (email copy) or to our wine advisory team (both in writing and orally).

Responsibilities

We are looking for a highly motivated, hugely talented individual to join the current team with the following responsibilities.

  • Wine regions (may evolve, but the proposed mix):
    • Spain/Portugal
    • Australia (plus any opportunities in New Zealand)
    • Key fine wines of South America
    • Opportunities in the USA, in particular California
  • Leading the efforts, working cross-functionally, to develop and launch Lay & Wheeler’s own label range of wines, by January 2022
  • Develop a strategy to test and then invest into an initial spirits range

Key activities

Analysis, forecasting, planning & buying

  • Make informed buying decisions based on existing stock levels, previous campaign history, projections and allocations
  • Identify gaps and source new wines which fit within the broader Lay & Wheeler range and business objectives
  • Build region/producer-specific pricing strategies, including margin and currency considerations
  • Plan and provide forecasts for upcoming campaigns, including during the annual budgeting process
  • Analyse past campaigns to ensure continuous refinement of the range

Supplier relationships

  • Build relationships with all relevant suppliers as well as actively sourcing new ones, prioritising direct purchasing where possible
  • Maintain relationships through proactive contact, including routine buying trips, using language skills as required
  • Represent Lay & Wheeler at trade tastings and other events
  • Negotiate with suppliers where required, including price, samples, payment terms, promotional support (e.g. dinners)
  • Work with the shipping & stock control manager to bring wines into the warehouse
  • Work with the accounts team to ensure suppliers are paid accurately and on time
  • Help organise annual range tastings for key regions

Merchandising & marketing

  • Work with the team to ensure wines from regions of focus are properly merchandised, with an appropriate sales strategy in place
  • Ensure appropriate marketing activity follows for all wines purchased
  • Maintain a high level of product knowledge and share it with the rest of the company
  • Write and/or brief team members about each wine, which includes writing copy for email list marketing

Qualities

  • WSET Diploma level of wine knowledge at a minimum; Master of Wine qualification, enrolment or aspirations a plus (sponsorship opportunities available)
  • A degree at 2.1 or higher is a plus
  • Strong analytical skills, a head for the numbers
  • Excellent communicator and strong writer; foreign languages skills a plus
  • High emotional intelligence, builds relationships with ease and loves working with others to get a job done
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Highly organised and efficient, able to manage high and varied workload
  • Shows initiative, with a high bias for action
  • Loves wine and loves learning more about it
  • Strong commercial thinker, delivering the necessary supporting analysis wherever possible

Additional details

  • We are looking for someone with prior experience in the fine wine trade, preferably in a buying or significant experience in a buying support role
  • Salary commensurate with experience, which will include participation in the company-wide bonus scheme, pension plan, staff discount on wine and other benefits
  • Primary place of work is flexible, acknowledging that key buying activities (tastings, meetings) take place in London, and with a requirement to be in head office one day a week once it is safe to do so (currently Tuesdays)
  • Significant travel is anticipated (up to 10 - 12 weeks a year)

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter explaining why you are qualified for the role to Katy Keating, by email on [email protected]