Bonn When restaurants and pubs are closed, people in Germany are buying their wine in the supermarket. Wein Wolf from Bonn-Oberkassel supplies both the hospitality sector and the retail trade. This has enabled the company to hold its ground during the pandemic.
It seems that people are not cutting back on wine in the pandemic. “Despite the closed hospitality sector, we only made about five percent less turnover last year,” says Philipp Reher, managing director of Wein Service Bonn GmbH. Under the name Wein Wolf, the company supplies the hospitality industry as well as the retail sector. Instead of enjoying wine in a restaurant, people have been purchasing their wine in shops during corona times. “The demand for wine in the food retail industry has risen sharply,” says the expert.
In his experience, customers are also reaching less and less for the cheaper bottles in supermarkets. “Even the discounter stores now offer high-quality and expensive wines,” says Reher. He describes the trend for better quality as follows: “People are drinking their way upwards.”
Sole importer of Taittinger
The Oberkassel wholesaler also benefits from the fact that well-known brands are particularly in demand in times of crisis. And Wein Wolf has these on offer: The company is the sole importer of Taittinger champagne, as well as names that are well-known to wine connoisseurs such as Miguel Torres, Robert Mondavi, Penfolds and Vega Sicilia. The Bonn-based company cites sales of a total of around 20 million bottles a year and thereby achieves a turnover of around 150 million euros.
The business is to be expanded. The subsidiary of the Hamburg-based industry leader Hawesko wants to merge various sub-companies at its Bonn site. Nine individual companies are to be bundled into the three sub-companies Wein Wolf GmbH, Grand Cru Select and Weinland Ariane Abayan after the sale of the Ziegler distillery.
The number of employees in Oberkassel, currently around 80, is also to increase by around ten over the course of the year. Instead of Wein Service Bonn, the traditional name Wolf will soon be part of the company’s name again. “We are well-known in the market for this,” says Reher.
Founder was Bonn restaurateur
Wein Wolf has been part of Hawesko since 1999. The founder of the company was the well-known Bonn restaurateur Karl-Heinz (‘Carlo’) Wolf, who has since passed away. The former operator of the restaurant ‘Chez Loup’ set up Wein Wolf at the end of the 1970s together with the gourmet food wholesaler Rungis Express (Meckenheim). Wolf sold the wine business in 1991. His name has remained.
(Original text: Delphine Sachsenröder, Translation: Caroline Kusch)