MP takes a wine tour

CEO discusses Brexit, emerging markets and his company's vineyard in Windsor Great Park

MP takes a wine tour

MP Alok Sharma with David Thatcher and other employees at Direct Wines

Theale, Reading, UK

Reading West MP Alok Sharma was recently invited by Direct Wines chief executive David Thatcher to take a tour of the company’s Theale headquarters.

Direct Wines is an independent wine merchant founded in 1969 and based in Arlington Business Park.

The company owns both Laithwaite’s Wine and Averys.

It operates vineyards and wine-making facilities in the UK, France, USA and Australia.

Mr Thatcher told the MP that two of Direct Wines’ biggest markets are the USA and Australia.

The company is also emerging for the first time into the markets of Hong Kong and China.

Mr Thatcher also told Mr Sharma about Laithwaite’s Wine’s partnership with The Crown Estate.

Laithwaite’s was given permission in 2011 to plant a vineyard in Windsor Great Park. Henry II was also said to have a vineyard at Windsor Castle in the 1100s.

The location, climate and drainage of the soil at the vineyard provides an ideal environment to produce English sparkling wine.

Mr Sharma said: “I am very grateful to Direct Wines and their CEO David Thatcher for hosting me and discussing the challenges and opportunities for the industry.

“I am very proud of this local business with its global outreach.”

Mr Thatcher said: “It was a great pleasure to show Alok round our offices in Theale and to discuss some of the implications of Brexit and alcohol duty for our business with him.”