Case Study – Wine Export Partners NZ

Wine Export Partners New Zealand (WEPNZ, now Indevin) is a wine producer based in Auckland, New Zealand.  The company grows its own grapes and sources grapes from other growers to produce wine in large volumes.  The majority of wine produced for the UK is shipped in bulk, bottled by a UK bottling partner, and distributed via the large supermarket chains.

In 2009 the wine industry was rocked by the collapse of First Quench – a major retail chain in the UK with fascias including Thresher’s and Wine Rack.  This created a significant problem for WEPNZ, having supplied a substantial volume of wine for which payment was outstanding.  Following the collapse, WEPNZ sought to enforce the Retention of Title clause in their contract and reclaim their stock. This was further complicated by a claim made on the stock by First Quench’s warehousing and logistics contractor.

Why choose APP Wine Law?

It was at this point that Phill Dagger, Managing Director at WEPNZ, contacted Andrew Park of APP Wine Law.  Phill explained his reasons for wanting to work with Andrew specifically:

“The significant advantage that Andrew has is his unique knowledge of the wine industry and this was massively important to us. I had worked with him at a previous company so I knew how good he was but aside from that he has a fantastic reputation even over here and his name often comes up when asking for recommendations.”

The Solution

Within a short time Andrew negotiated deals with both the warehousing contractor and First Quench’s administrators that resulted in WEPNZ recovering the bulk of the total debt in a combination of stock and cash.  WEPNZ understand that they were one of only seven First Quench creditors – out of a total of more than 600 –who had their claims upheld.

Phill describes how he found find working with Andrew:

“In short, Andrew is ridiculously good!  One of his key points of difference is that he speaks in plain English and it was very important to him that we understood everything that was happening, in fact he wouldn’t proceed until he was satisfied that this was the case.  His wine trade expertise meant that he could give us real examples of where he had experienced comparable situations which proved invaluable in informing our approach.  His communication was second to none: I knew what was happening throughout and if he said he would deliver something, he delivered it – every time.

In terms of value for money, Andrew went above and beyond to make sure we were charged fairly. He explained all options and costs upfront and was mindful of avoiding spending chargeable time on courses of action that were unlikely to prove effective. What impressed me the most however was that he credited time in lieu of another case he was working on that had key similarities (voluntarily I might add) – how many lawyers would do that? Not many in my experience.

I simply wouldn’t use anyone else now and would highly recommend him to others, as I have done many times.”

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