Yalumba to close Negociants UK Posted by: Alana House May 14, 2018 Yalumba has announced it will close its UK distribution arm, Negociants, next month. Negociant's brands will be distributed in the UK by John E Fells, with owners the Hill Smith family becoming shareholders in the business. Yalumba will take a 10% share in Fells, joining the Torres winemaking family and majority-owner Symington Family Estates, which will retain a 10% and 80% ownership of Fells respectively. John E Fells’ managing director Steve Moody said: This is a family of some standing and reputation and fits superbly into our offering. “It adds importance to what Fells is and adds to Fell’s standing as a distributor of family-owned wine.” Chairman Paul Symington added: “When my family originally bought Fells in 1976, none of us envisaged that it would occupy the position that it does today in the UK wine trade. It is with great pride that we now welcome the Hill Smith family into Fells, and we look forward to working with Robert, his family and their wonderful wines in the years to come.” Robert Hill Smith commented: “My family and the Yalumba team are excited by this venture with John E Fells and joining such respected wine people as the Symington and Torres families. Our Negociants team has done a wonderful job in the UK since 1990, but the time has come to align our aspirations with a new market approach. “The Fells list is fabulous and our Yalumba and family estate folio sit comfortably within it. We hope to continue our success across all channels while making further impact on the HORECA channel and building deeper relationships with the independent trade.” Negociants will cease to trade from June 10 and its managing director, Simon Thorpe, will join Fells as commercial director. Thorpe added: "We believe moving our premium brands into the Fells portfolio, coupled with the Hill Smith family taking a stake in the company, will bring long term strategic benefits to both businesses. This is a coming together of two strong and successful family owned wine businesses who share similar values. It definitely demonstrates a commitment from Yalumba to the UK market." All of the key Yalumba and Hill Smith brands will be migrating across – Oxford Landing, Pewsey Vale, Vasse Felix and Jansz, from Australia and Two Paddocks from New Zealand. The only brands not to make the move to Fells are Brokenwood, Chaffey Bros, Rockford and Jim Barry. The latter announced earlier this week that it was transferring its distribution to Hallgarten Druitt & Novum wines. McWilliam’s Wines Group announced in March that it has appointed Hallgarten Druitt Novum as its distributor in continental Europe.