Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Monday, February 3 2020

Select Wines Buys Lifford Wine and Spirits

By: Anthony Gismondi
The big get bigger in the battle for distribution.

In a giant-size deal Vancouver-based Select Wine Merchants has reached into the heart of Ontario and purchased Lifford Wines & Spirits.

The acquisition brings several outstanding producers into the Select fold and should improve the reach and distribution of several key brands outside of Ontario. Here is the release put out by both parties now that the deal is official.

Select Wine Merchants announced last week that an agreement had been reached to purchase 100% ownership of Lifford Wine & Spirits. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Select Wines, Lifford will continue to operate as a separate wine agency with its own field sales team focused on the on-trade and direct-to-consumer channels. The objective of this transaction is to accelerate Lifford's growth while increasing Select Wines'' distribution to Ontario restaurants and consumers.

Commenting on the acquisition, Lifford's's President, Steven Campbell, said, "This is an important milestone for Lifford. Select Wines is an established national agency with strong values, proven leadership and performance. By partnering with Select Wines, Lifford's brands will benefit from their competency in markets beyond Ontario. At the same time, Select Wines'' partners now have the opportunity to capitalize on Lifford's's strength, as Ontario's leading on-trade distributor. As we continue to see rapid marketplace evolution, we felt the timing was right to make a significant major move that best serves the needs of our customers, our people, and our partners."
Select Wines was established as a Vancouver based boutique wine agency in 1982. Today, Select is a management-owned and operated national wine agency with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Driving sales growth that significantly exceeds industry trends, Select has a relentless focus on performance and deepening customer relationships in all markets and segments. Select's CEO Chris Hoffmeister said, "I am very enthusiastic about being working with Steven and his team, who have done a tremendous job of building equity in the highest value trade channels. Our company was founded on selling fine wines to fine dining establishments. Providing best in class service to this channel is at the heart of our priorities. With the acquisition of Lifford, who I consider as the top on-trade distributor in Ontario, Select now offers one of the most robust and diverse distribution networks available in Canada."

Here are just a few of winery's that will be touched by the deal: Benjamin Bridge, Bachelder / Niagara, Tawse Winery, St. Innocent, Bachelder Oregon, Ramey Wine Cellars, Barnett Vineyards, Amalaya, Meerlust Estate, Raats Family Wines, A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines, Ata Rangi, Two Paddocks, Tolpuddle Vineyard, Champagne Bruno Paillard, Tenuta Il Poggione, and Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez. Who will stay and who will leave is anyone's guess at this point.

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony co-hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 18 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on Spotify, Apple and iHeart Radio and more. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million users a month from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource of full tasting notes and intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers.