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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Styling the Perfect Wine | Jay Wright

Styling the Perfect Wine | Jay Wright

Jay Wright

CEO and Co-Owner

Jay Wright, CEO and Co-Owner of Virgin Wines infectious energy, enthusiasm, passion and drive has been instrumental in creating an environment that encourages talent to thrive and a culture that puts the customer at the very heart of every decision-making process. After 12 years, Jay still sits in amongst all his team, has time for everyone

whether it be the newest employee or a long-standing supplier and his charismatic leadership ensures incredible loyalty from not only his direct team but everyone in the business.

He is demanding, always pushing for improvements everywhere, never settling for ‘good enough’ and driving hard for change and innovation that delivers real customer benefit. But he also creates a fun, informal environment where the social side of life and friendships are highly valued and encouraged. He has an incredible work ethic managing to successfully be both CMO and CEO of Virgin Wines whilst also finding time to be Vice Chairman of Lincoln City Football Club and co-owning a canal-side pub in Lancaster near his family home in the South Lakes.

Jay was the youngest ever winner of the Drinks Business ‘Man of the Year’ award in 2013, an award that recognized his outstanding contribution to both Virgin Wines and the drinks industry as a whole. When announcing the award at the time the judges recognized Jay as someone ‘who has spearheaded immense change at Virgin Wines whilst being someone who is as happy to pack boxes with his staff as manage the 150 strong team’.

Building the Brand

Virgin’s brand ethos has always to been to move into markets where it can change, rather than play the game. This was no different with Virgin Wines where the business, and Jay specifically, has been obsessively focused on finding every point of frustration a customer may have and then finding ways to solve or overcome them. By incorporating a whole host of different ways customers can interact with the company, whether it being through one of its varying subscription schemes, through using the personal Wine Advisor service, just dipping in and out whenever it suits or by through coming along to one of the many live events there is an the ideal way for any customer to buy and engage with Virgin Wines.

Virgin Wines delivers the ultimate mix of uniquely sourced, exclusive products, outstanding levels of customercare, innovative digital marketing and unprecedented levels of customer acquisition. Their turnover continues to grow at a phenomenal rate (up 34% to £57m in FY20) whilst trading profit increased to £4.55m, despite still investing in acquiring 112,000 new customers. Conversion and retention rates have both increased whilst attrition has reduced.

Virgin Wines has the most comprehensive portfolio of exclusive wines, each individually created by their own team based on thousands of customer reviews, craft beers (including the Beer box subscription scheme), over 220 spirits (including exclusive creations), a full gift service, a speedy next day delivery service and outstanding customer service, backed up by the fact over 17k customer reviews have ensured Virgin Wines rate as ‘excellent’ rating on Trust Pilot.

Letting it Flow

Jay has spent much of his working life trying to ensure wine is a product that can enjoyed by everyone. He has been adamant that the language used around wine should be approachable, that there is no ‘right or wrong’ answer when it comes to enjoying an individual wine and that no one should feel intimidated about it. “We know that wine can be confusing and therefore one of the key areas we have addressed as a business has been to take the intimidation out of wine buying,” he says. “That is why all our wines are grouped in style categories as well as grape, country etc. This allows customers who know they like ‘crisp, refreshing whites’ or ‘huge reds’ to find exactly the style of wines they know they are going to like.”

They have recently changed Virgin Wines from being a retailer focused solely on wine to a one that is covering all product categories. Jay wants Virgin Wines to be a one stop shop for everyone’s drinks requirements whether that be outstanding exclusive wines, quality spirits, craft beers or no/low alcoholic beverages.” As well as close to 700 wines we now also sell over 220 spirits and 100 beers meaning we have all bases covered no matter what a customer’s drinks preference may be,” he says. “We hope that as well as this being a fabulous and convenient additional service to our existing customers it will also bring in a large number of new customers to Virgin Wines.”

Jay Wright Award

" We know that wine can be confusing and therefore one of the key areas we have addressed as a business has been to take the intimidation out of wine buying. "

Jay Wright

Virgin Wines

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