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Pioneering, a new era of wine and spirits

2017/08/09
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Gavin Jones, leader at the helm of Jebsen Fine Wines, talked to us about the evolving dynamics in the wine industry.

“Where I grew up in England, wine used to play a significant part in our weekends. I always loved wines when I was younger. I’m very fortunate to have been able to follow that passion.” As the Director of Jebsen Fine Wines, Gavin Jones loves what he does. For the past 20 years, he has been spearheading the development of the wine division, steadily transforming it into a prominent player in the industry.

Established in Hong Kong in 1991, Jebsen Fine Wines is under the umbrella of Jebsen Group’s Beverage division. “Our team is proud to have built a comprehensive portfolio over the years. We have successfully forged close ties with many brands such as Champagne Bollinger and Rosemount Estate that have partnered with us since the beginning.” Jones remarked. Aside from representing more than 80 agency brands, the company is also managing self-owned brands such as Twinwoods Estate in Margaret River through winery and vineyard investments under Jebsen Wine Estates, established in 2015. Other than the Wine Estates, Jebsen Fine Wine Club provides quality wine education for private and corporate clients. Jones told us, “This is a great opportunity for the consumers to get closer to the winemakers. That’s the point of difference that people love about us.” Following the emergence of e-commerce in China, consumption habits have changed drastically. Jones noted the distinction between the ever-expanding wine market in China and the saturated one in Hong Kong. He said, “It is incredible how China fully embraces the online shopping experience and trusts the payment platform. It is a sizable part of our business but it is price-sensitive.” Strong strategic planning has been essential to succeed in China’s fine wine e-commerce market, but Jones believes that the most important task for Jebsen Fine Wine is to position their brands firmly in the market. Despite its relatively small part in the Jebsen business, the fully functional online shop of Jebsen Fine Wines generates remarkable profits every year.

“We have forged close ties with many brands that have partnered with us since the beginning.”

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Facing the saturated wine market in Hong Kong, Jones has expanded the portfolio of Jebsen beyond the arena of wines. Launched in 2014, the sake division isdedicated to bringing a new component to the market. “It is a category that hasn’t been fully developed. With the wine market being saturated and the proliferation of Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong, we see it as a natural step to explore the sake market,” said Jones. With exclusive sake brand KIKUSAKI coming on board last year, Jebsen Fine Wines stocks numerous sake labels such as Senkin and Kikusaki, with the flagship sake being the“N” sake by Hidetoshi Nakata. Jones also announced an exciting piece of news, “Jebsen Fine Wine has become the official exclusive overseas partner of Juyondai, one of the most premium sake brands in Japan.” As Japanese sake producers are generally conservative and rarely distribute outside of Japan, earning their trust and building successful relationships with them, is a gratifying outcome for the sake team.

As sake can only rarely be found on the menus of Western and Chinese restaurants, Jones, a leader with more than a single ambition, said “I think any good restaurant - whether Chinese, French or Italian - should have sake on its menu. Customers are entitled to options.” Jones is declaring his goal loud and clear. In the years ahead, Jebsen Fine Wines will continue its commitment to spearheading sake development in its portfolio, as well as enriching people’s lives by offering a choice of quality products that echoes to the core value of the Jebsen Group.

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——Article excerpt from《SPIRITO diVINO Asia

 

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