2007 January

Drinks star leaves after 15-year stint that put supermarket on wine map

Guinness is spending £2.5 million on the screening of a new TV and cinema ad in the run-up to St Patrick's Day.

Fizz makes war, not love

26 January, 2007

A fizz price war has kicked off as retailers gear up for Valentine's Day.

VOX SHOP

26 January, 2007

What do you do if you suspect a customer has a drink problem?

Wine Cellar trial pays off and convenience deal will more than double outlets

Below cost is below belt

26 January, 2007

Off-licences' anger at supermarket price tactics

Independent wine merchants have sales of just under £250 million - accounting for around 5 per cent of the British off-trade wine market, according to a major OLN survey.

Organisers of last week's Millésime Bio organic wine fair at Narbonne in southern France reported increased interest from British buyers.

News in brief

26 January, 2007

Swiss organisation Schenk Holding has increased its stakehold in its UK distributor, Buckingham Vintners. The pan-European company made its initial investment in the UK in 1994. Cliff Roberson, chairman of Buckingham Vintners, which supplies wine to the off and on-trades, said the extra investment would allow the company to give better value to suppliers and customers in both the own-label and branded sectors.

A French barrel maker and a number of South African winemakers are counting the cost of the wreck of the Napoli container ship, which spilt its cargo onto the English coast at the weekend.

Nisa-Today's has re launched its own-label Burgundy wines.

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo will be permitted grape varieties in Rioja DOCa from this year's vintage.

Wine in brief

26 January, 2007

Wine writer Hugh Johnson was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to winemaking and horticulture. He is best known for writing the annual Pocket Wine Book series and as co-author o f The World Atlas of Wine. Johnson will receive his honour from the Queen on Feb 9.

Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon came out as the winning varieties at the fourth annual Wines of Chile Awards.

Nearly all major retailers are backing this year's Wine Relief, in which shops donate 10 per cent from sales of certain bottles to Comic Relief.

Justin Howard-Sneyd MW stepped into the newly-created role of manager of wine-buying last August to drive the development of Waitrose's wine strategy.

Last year saw Dan Jago replace the outgoing Mark Murphy as head of the Tesco BWS team and crowned the most powerful man in drinks retailing. Having completed a crash course in Tesco philosophy, Jago is now equipped to start imposing his considerable personality on the business - but with the retailer comfortably dominating the marketplace, his "to do" list is not as pressing as those of his rivals.

In a move to improve its competitive position, Spar entered into a surprise deal with convenience rival the Co-op in September. The buying alliance initially focused on targeted areas of own-label products, including spirits, carbonated drinks and water. Spar trading director Chris Lewis - who was part of the team who worked on the new arrangement - said it would allow the spirits team to concentrate on new product development.

Somerfield: time of change

26 January, 2007

Somerfield wine buyer Angela Mount is leaving after 15 years in the job, and the company has not named the wine-buying team to replace her. Mount, who built up Somerfield's wine offering from virtually nothing to a range with a national reputation, will leave in March.

Sainsbury's drinks division proved it could remain at the top of its game after picking up another heap of awards. Not only was it Supermarket of the Year at OLN's Drinks Retailing Awards in February, it won the most gold medals of any supermarket at the International Wine Challenge.

With Morrisons' conversion exercise well out the way in 2006, the supermarket finally followed the lead of other supermarkets and extended its premium brand The Best into wine, cider, spirits and beer. The move has been so well received by customers there are plans to roll out more products in the range this year.

Asda: biggest World Cup fan

26 January, 2007

The football World Cup was the highlight of Asda's 2006 calendar, with the supermarket emerging as a chief player in slashing beer prices to lower levels than they held in 2005. Asda says its beer market share grew from 14.6 per cent to 19.4 per cent during the tournament, outperforming the market.

The Co-op has put a real focus on the Fairtrade part of its wine range, and in October launched the UK's first Fairtrade wines from Argentina - four wines sourced from La Riojana, Argentina's largest co-operative.

M&S: own-label boost

26 January, 2007

Marks & Spencer has widened its 100 per cent exclusive and own-label range over the last year. Fine wines have had a boost, with 20 added to the range in just two months last autumn, and the store is trialling a new fine wine fixture in one of its stores, which it hopes to roll out to other sites this year.

While very little is reported about this publicity-shy Glasgow chain, figures show a profitable company that has increased its turnover from

Winemark is Northern Ireland's biggest off-

Moving further afield

26 January, 2007

French wine specialist Nicolas spent 2006 expanding - and goes into 2007 with plans for more.

Finding strength in numbers

26 January, 2007

Family-owned Rhythm & Booze continued to expand beyond its South Yorkshire heartland , working towards its goal of opening 100 shops in the UK.

Wine Cellar's owners have spent three years licking the business into shape after buying it from receivers following its collapse under previous management.

It's all change for Thresher going into 2007 - trading director Alex Anson, who mastermind ed the three-for-two offer, has quit the company for a new career in Switzerland.