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9th September 2021

Leading sustainable wine producer secures £375,000 funding to help the environment one sip at a time

Worcestershire based Sustainable bag-in-box wine brand, When in Rome, has secured £375,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) West Midlands Equity Fund, managed by Midven  (part of the Future Planet Capital Group).

Having already secured listings with Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon, the MEIF funding will allow When in Rome to accelerate its growth by upscaling its marketing activities and expanding distribution. The investment also supports three key hires and two contractor roles.

The funding has enabled the business to hire a new Chief Operating Officer, with wine industry veteran, Antony Wolowiec, joining the team. The firm has also appointed Vince Lawson, former Global Head of Marketing at Fever Tree, as a Non-Executive Director.

Founded in 2015, When in Rome provides Italian craft wines, made by independent producers, and supplied in sustainably sourced packaging. On a mission to make wine with a low carbon footprint more accessible, the company offers bag-in-box, cans, and recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles.

Midven quickly identified When in Rome’s growth potential and its ability to disrupt the wine industry with alternative format packaging and reduced CO2 emissions. The investment in When in Rome is part of Midven’s green agenda, continuing its commitment to support companies with the environment at heart.

When in Rome hand-picks premium quality wine from small and independent Italian producers, who box the wine and send it to the UK by train. Malin met business partners Andrea Marchesi and Lorenzo Canali while travelling to Italy and using their wine shop in Milan as the facilitator, they forge close connections with small producers, allowing the company to source the best wines from unique vineyards.

When in Rome also received investment from 465 Holdings and was advised by Stephen Murray of Martindale Partners, and Robert Rabone.

Rob Malin, CEO of When in Rome, said, “This strategic investment from MEIF and 465 Holdings has come at exactly the right time for our business as we scale up to satisfy consumers’ growing thirst for our premium craft wines in eco-friendly packaging. Thanks to this injection of cash and expertise, we have the opportunity to further grow our range, expand our distribution within the UK and overseas and amplify our marketing to enable our message of quality, value and sustainability to reach more conscious consumers.”

Surjit Kooner, investment director at Midven, said, “When in Rome presents an exciting opportunity to invest in a company which is disrupting a traditional sector. There is an increasing demand for alt-format wine driven by conscious consumers looking for more sustainable and environmentally friendly brands. When in Rome’s great tasting, authentically Italian products, combined with the strength of the management team and green credentials, has created an exciting opportunity for us to invest. We look forward to working with Rob and the team.”  

Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said:Through our regional funds, we are actively supporting businesses that are contributing to the UK’s low-carbon agenda. This latest MEIF investment is enabling When in Rome to grow its operations and team, while pushing forward its mission of making sustainably packaged wine more readily accessible.”

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive at Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s great to see that another local business has received funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. We have seen numerous Worcestershire businesses benefit and grow from this programme over the last few years. As a result of this investment, When in Rome will be able to grow its business by hiring a new Chief Operating Officer and also focus on upscaling. I’m looking forward to seeing the company’s development and continued contribution to the local economy.”

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