Trailblazing Wine Ltd

"Trailblazing Wine" offers a unique and market disruptive Wine Club in so far as rather than 'selling' wine to its members it focusses on 'sourcing' and 'broking' wines its members want at the best prices through the club's mobile transactional App.

Trailblazing Wine Ltd

United Kingdom

  • Introduction

    ‘We’re all about preserving the integrity and individuality of local, honest produce whilst making it available to a global community eager to experience a world of diverse flavours’ Jerome Harlington CEO.

    We do this in two ways, first by finding wines from small grower estates around the world. Specifically, but not limited to, craft, natural, organic and/or biodynamic wines, and making them available to our customers. These are the best wines you have never heard of.

    Secondly we source the wines our customers ask us to find for them. These are the best wines you just can’t find.
    We are guided by three values that determine everything we do:


    • We aim for the highest quality service in everything we do
    • We source the best quality wines we can find
    • We use the best quality packaging and service providers we can find
    • We offer the best quality service to our customers, suppliers and team


    • Respect is our guiding principle in everything we do
    • We respect our team, our customers and our suppliers
    • We respect the environment and insist that any supplier we work with has the same values in their methods in the vineyards, in the winery and with their team and workers


    • Building trust and lasting relationships is at the centre of everything we do
    • We pay a fair price to our producers and offer a fair price to our customers
    • We keep our promises and put things right when they go wrong

    Trailblazing Wine - Business to Consumer (BtoC)

    In addition to the core activity of distributing to both trade sectors, corporate and high net worth private clients, the commercial retail arm of the business trades as Trailblazing Wine. Wines are presented to customers at wine tastings around the country backed by wine club membership and e commerce sales.

    Value Tracker
  • Management

    Board members

    Jerome Harlington | CEO

    Jerome has extensive experience in the wine trade with world class companies such as Majestic Wine Plc and Mentzendorff under parent company Champagne Bollinger. He also has solid FMCG experience in sales and marketing with Johnson & Johnson Plc and Colgate Palmolive Plc. He has a lifetime of passionate interest and involvement in most aspects of food & drink across international markets including brand and own label products.

    To put Jerome’s love of wine into context it is worth mentioning his Father, David, who played a critical role in funding and helping run Harlington Wine from its inception in 2006 through to 2011. David’s love of wine started when living in France in the early 1970’s. He delighted in finding the local table wine delivered on the doorstep along with the morning milk. He developed his appreciation of wine during a professional career of more than thirty years in the oil business when he was fortunate enough to live nearby many of the well-known wine producing regions of the world. He shared his passion with others for finding top quality locally produced wines and was keen on supporting family growers undiscovered by the major UK wine importers.

    From an early age, David’s enthusiasm for wine rubbed off on his son, Jerome, who worked at Chateau Val Joinis in Provence prior to a year’s placement at Bordeaux University. He also completed his University Dissertation in Wine. Then having spent three years picking up commercial business skills in a blue chip business environment, Jerome decided to pursue his own passion for wine by taking a post in 1998 with Majestic Wine. In 2000 Jerome moved to Mentzendorff, the fine wine importers and distributors of Champagne Bollinger, where he completed his Diploma in wines and spirits. He worked alongside some of the world’s most celebrated wine producers and Masters of Wine to become an accomplished manager of the company’s key accounts.

    Keen to pursue his passion to bring new and refreshing wines to market Jerome left Mentzendorff in July 2006 to work full-time on the new business, Harlington Wine to seek out up and coming family wine growers who make the best examples of wine in their region.

    Jerome and David developed the business model and made extensive wine tours across all regions of France, Italy and Slovenia to build up the portfolio to having distribution partnerships with over fifty first class producers. They have been marketing the existing portfolio since May 2009.

    The focus of the business until 2014 was broking to the trade achieving contracts with multi-national grocers, including Waitrose; on trade pub groups, including Young’s and Well’s; and Michelin starred restaurants including the Ledbury and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

    In 2014 Jerome partnered with Dominic Berger to switch the focus of the business from trade to specialist private client sales and services. They have developed a market disruptive innovative wine sourcing and concierge App under Trailblazing Wine.

    David Harlington | Chairman

    David has had many years’ experience searching for and tasting real wines from producers worldwide while working in his 30 year career as an oil company executive.

    He was delighted when his son Jerome chose to enter the wine business firstly with Majestic Wine and then moving on with Mentzendorff. In 2006 he and Jerome founded Harlington Wine Ltd. David played a pivotal role developing and funding the business from a zero base. He continues to have an active interest in the business. 

    In 2014 David created and developed Hands Together Ludlow a new charity based in his home town of Ludlow. In 2015, Hands Together Ludlow has commenced the process of incorporating itself into a sustainable registered charity.

    Rob Jenson | COO

    A highly successful senior executive with more than 30 years extensive experience in a variety of roles, within the  Royal Mail Group (RMG). 

    Rob is currently an Operations Director, having held previous roles in high value logistics, sales and Programme Management at board and Director level.

    He is a skilled leader, with a proven track record of managing turnaround performance and transformational change programmes in highly regulated and complex operations > £800m budget responsibilities and large unionised employee base > 30k.

    A genuinely enthusiastic, passionate and challenging leader who inspires individuals and large groups to achieve more than they thought possible.

  • Market

    Segmentation of UK regular wine drinkers 

    • Adventurous Connoisseurs are middle-aged confident wine drinkers who enjoy experimenting within their wine lives (18% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Generation Treaters are younger drinkers (Gen Y aged 29-39) who are growing in confidence and experimenting in their wine choice (24% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Mainstream at-Homers are middle aged core wine drinkers who view their wine drinking as a frequent treat (22% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Risk-averse Youngsters (Gen Y aged 18-28) are younger wine drinkers lacking in confidence and still growing into the wine category (19% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Senior Sippers are older, less frequent wine drinkers with a limited interest in wine (12% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Kitchen Casuals are middle-aged and infrequent wine drinkers, who are typically unengaged with the category (5% of total spend on wine in the UK)
    • Source: Wine Intelligence Portraits UK 2014.

    Our Target Market is the millennial Generation Y: Risk-averse youngsters and Generation Treaters. 

    This category has been ignored by the wine industry in general. Other drinks categories have done a much better job engaging with Millennials. They are a big target market for craft brewers. 

    A survey was recently conducted in Ireland and the UK which asked Millennials to select words which describe the essence of food and drinks brands they choose to purchase. The words selected include: attractive, dependable, loved, competitive, trustworthy, accessible, influential, valuable, enjoyable. The survey resulted in a marketing study which suggested that Millennials are using brands as a proxy to express who they are, and the words selected were actually indicative of how Millennials themselves wanted to be perceived. Young people are engulfed in a visual culture and deeply entrenched in using social media to tell their story. The study refers to this as “storyful living” and suggests food and drink makers can court Millennial customers by providing a product interesting enough for them to snapchat or tweet about. For these young people “food is fashion” and purchasing rare artisan foods and drinks is both glamorous and meaningful.

    Almost two thirds of Millennials want to quit the 9 to 5 and create their own business. This internal drive to break out is referred to as having an “entrepreneurial mindset.” The dream is to have the freedom to build one’s own life, work on things that are interesting, and schedule where and when one works. When Millennials choose to purchase products from small artisan producers they are supporting others who share that same entrepreneurial mindset – in short, that purchase gives meaning to the customer’s own life, and proves that
    the little guy really can make it.

    When drink makers want to tap into the Millennial market they must have a clear strategy about the values its brand portrays. If young people choose products with attributes they desire for themselves, brands will do best to exude independence and freedom, while still
    caring deeply for the world and the environment.

    Story telling is the key to displaying a brand’s values – values that the customer takes on when they purchase the product.

    Market research and insights above are from Wave Train Intermedia included in a blog by Sara Breitenfeldt, Secretary of Beer Ireland, a professional association for Irish craft brewers, and is a member of the Pink Boots Society. The UK Wine market is worth £10 billion in sales (WSTA Market Overview 2015 Edition)

    Distribution channels
    It is important to spread risk and to be present in all trading channels each offering unique opportunities and threats. To be too reliant on a single channel is to relinquish control of the brand and can lead to downward pressure on price or worse can lead to a quick exit from the market with the single threat of a de-list.

    UK Off Trade: The majority of wine in the UK is purchased in the Multiple Grocers with the off trade accounting for 81.7% of purchases (Source: Nielson)

    National Accounts: Waitrose has the highest profile in terms of the target consumer for premium wines. Establishing a brand in Waitrose is extremely positive and is the first step in broadening distribution into Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s or the Cooperative. National Multiple Specialist, Majestic Wine, is another key target.

    Regional specialists: the UK market has become polarised with price and value for money being the key motivation in the volume grocer outlets and in the specialist sectors consumers are looking for something a bit different. This sector including merchants such as Vagabond wines in London experiencing solid growth “with many independent merchants enjoying their best ever years.” (Source: Harpers Wines & Spirits).

    Regional non-specialists: Another area experiencing growth is specialist delis and food outlets. This sector is not wine specialist and they want a small list of wines that complement their foods and that are easy for their customers to understand. Harlington decode the complicated and put their wine styles together using colour, making it easy for their non-specialist customers to recommend wines to partner their best selling foods.

    UK On Trade:The on trade has experienced difficulties as many consumers have opted for “the big night in” inviting friends to dinner and enjoying quality wines at home. However, well-located destination and neighbourhood restaurants and bars are doing better. The Gastro Pub
    sector has also experienced solid growth.

    Wholesale: The National wholesale channel is going through some changes at the moment with Constellation Brands having sold 80% of their UK and Australian operation to Champ Private Equity. Price will be a key driver to these huge distributors whose aim is to reduce their portfolios. Harlington can differentiate so there should be interest in their niche wines filling important gaps for major National Wholesalers.

    National Direct: Another difficult sector but brand activation is what drives this division, so with the right messages, a listing could be possible with a major group such as Mitchells and Butlers (large portfolio of on trade branded pubs – such as All Bar One and outlets)

    Regional (independent): The independent sector is fairly buoyant but price is being squeezed with even top quality award winning outlets wanting to make 350% mark-up on wine. This means a £14 bottle of wine on the list costs £3.50 wholesale (€0.75 ex cellars
    equivalent to the importer)! Quality outlets such as The Green Café in Ludlow are clear

    UK Consumer Direct: It is clear that with the fragile market conditions price and therefore margins are being squeezed significantly in all the BtoB channels. The BtoC channels are opening up and growing solidly all be it from a very small base. Not many importers are taking advantage
    of this as routes to market are very traditional and old fashioned in the UK. This channel is therefore a major opportunity for Harlington.

    Regional Events: Trailblazing Wine hold tastings in regions across the UK. These are a very important marketing aid for spreading the influence of the brand across the UK as a whole. It offers the consumer the opportunity of a direct link with the winemaker.

    Internet: Offers huge growth potential both in e commerce sales and to engage directly with the customer. It is critical in this burgeoning sector to keep ahead of the competition by investing in state of the art e-commerce and App technology and skilled web site maintenance and by using social networks to best advantage. The Internet and app channel is dominated by two players in the Wine Club and new to market Information sectors.

  • Products/Services

    Private members club offering high touch wine and lifestyle concierge services.

    Trailblazing Wine offer something very different and is:

    -          The first wine club that allows you to source the wine YOU want from anywhere in the world and delivers it straight to your door.

    -          The first wine club to deliver an app that allows you to take a picture of some obscure bottle anywhere in the world and get it sourced and sent straight to you.

    -          The first wine club to combine the supply of exceptional wines that you’ve never heard of with a proper learning experience, enabling its members to enjoy wine and learn more about it in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

    Trailblazing Wine membership features include:

    -          Significant discounts of up to 30% off the retail prices of our extensive range of Club wines (the best wines you’ve never heard of).

    -          Access to an expert sourcing team to find those wines you can’t get anywhere.

    -          Quarterly 1:1 with your Trusted Wine Advisor.

    -          Quarterly winemaker and wine region webinars.

    -          Gift concierge service.

    -          Palate profiling and analysis.


  • Key Data



    Segment Engage
    Market identifier TBW
    Name Trailblazing Wine Ltd
    Short name TW
    Sectors Consumer products
    ISIN N/A
    Currency GBP
    Number of shares held by Angel Business Club 4000000
    Strike price 1.00 GBP
    Entity number 09470568
    Country United Kingdom
    Instrument type share
    Share class B