On the Road: Tom van der Neut

ArticlesOn the Road

Tom is senior business manager at Lanchester Wines, covering the south of England, and a driving force behind Vintrigue Wines, the company’s indie portfolio


I am the southern contingent of a business based in the north. The office is in Durham and the team have these lovely melodic accents; I could listen to them speak all day long. It’s like music.

My patch is enormous, which is brilliant. So I do Kent to Cornwall and up to Bristol and everything in between. I get a lot of the really cool parts of our trade including parts of the south west, which are really interesting and vibrant, and parts of the south east.

I work with such a diverse range of independents and you might have to be a bit of a social chameleon when you visit customers, but we all share the same core values. We are all aware that we sell the greatest liquid on earth so we have a shared passion for what we do.

We have a wine called Alfonso the Grape. It’s a style similar to Pinot Noir and it involves a nice bit of playful marketing because the grape variety is Alfonso Lavalle, which not many people have heard of. Alfonso’s packaging is nice point of difference for the indies because there are up to six different labels in each box of six, so when it’s being put out on the shop floor it’s very eye-catching.

The impending shortage of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is actually a golden opportunity for us to share our expertise with our customers and give their consumers a new wine experience.

Varieties such as Pecorino, Vermentino and Pinot Gris have been on the cusp of being hugely successful, but slightly struggled to break through the volume barrier of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

But for those die-hard Sauvignon drinkers, we have a fantastic new wine called Moloko Bay from South Africa, which is crafted in a New Zealand Sauvignon-style but is very much South African, and proud to be from there. It’s a compelling commercial and stylistic offering, which should work across the trade and I think it’s something that will grow in popularity.

I absolutely love driving and with a patch as big as mine the journeys can be quite long and the car is my office. My wife probably has the widest variety of musical taste that exists on earth. She is constantly throwing new bands and new music at me. I have to listen to the commercial radio station in my car just to keep up with her!

I drive a plug-in hybrid, very much in keeping with Lanchester Wines’ sustainability strategy.

I really love oaky Chardonnay, generally from the new world. We’ve got a great wine from Napa Cellars, a Californian Chardonnay that’s seasoned with a combination of American and French oak and it’s absolutely stunning. It’s got all of the buttery notes, the viscosity, the acidity – it’s a beautifully well-balanced wine. I love that style.

I’m really into cricket, both watching and playing, and I’m a huge Formula One fan, hence my son’s name, Sebastian. Sundays can be quite holy in my household because there’ll be a Formula One race on at 2pm and if there is cricket on, that would have started at 10am.

In the first lockdown almost all sport was cancelled, there was no sport on TV and the first to return was horseracing. I started watching it and it’s absolutely fascinating. Not only are they beautiful beasts, there’s so much that goes into it. And I now I own a modest share in a racehorse called Daphne May.


Feature sponsored by Vintrigue Wines. For more information, visit vintriguewines.com
Call 01207 521234

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