2015 May

During the short time when cat food came under my remit at Marks & Spencer, I learned two interesting facts.

Villa Maria’s Alastair Maling MW is leaving the winery after more than 12 years spent heading up the winemaking side of the business.

Innovation, economic recovery and education have beaten lower duty to become the top tips from suppliers looking at what could bring the UK wine market back into growth.

Eighteen per cent of suppliers have lost listings as supermarkets scale back their wine ranges, and another 23% say their margins and prices are coming under increasing pressure, OLN's exclusive Wine Report poll of UK agencies and distributors has revealed.

In a year of turmoil for many supermarket buying teams, 71% of suppliers polled for OLN's Wine Report say there is too much churn for them to establish long-term, effective relationships – up from 53% last year and 46% the year before.

Traditional wine agencies will have to change their models, funding or target markets to survive in the current climate, say 38% of suppliers polled for OLN's Wine Report.

Supermarkets are not honouring their pledge to move away from deep discounting, according to nearly 60% of suppliers polled in OLN's Wine Report.

Suppliers’ estimation of supermarket own-labels is slipping, OLN's exclusive Wine Report poll of UK agents and distributors has revealed.

Independents remain the sector with the biggest potential for wine suppliers – but they are no longer seen as the unmitigated success story they were a few years ago, according to OLN's exclusive Wine Report poll.

Uco Valley producer Bodegas Salentein is targeting the UK independent trade after celebrating the 40th harvest of its legendary chief winemaker.

Liverpool fan Kevin Clarke said he wasn’t too upset after his team suffered a 6-1 drubbing in the match he commentated on as a prize for winning Carlsberg’s People’s Pundit campaign.

Tesco is teaming up with the There’s a Beer for That campaign for a promotion pairing beer with BBQ foods.

Scotch whisky distilleries broke visitor records in 2014 by attracting more than 1.5 million whisky fans, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

Jägermeister is spending £1 million on a summer marketing campaign that will see the brand represented at seven music festivals across the UK.

Bibendum PLB has raised more than £75,000 for military charity Help for Heroes by donating £1 in every bottle sold of its Wines for Heroes range.

Thatchers has launched a premium cloudy cider brand called Somerset Haze in time for the summer spike in cider drinking.

Mentzendorff said there is a “thrilling energy” in South African wine after bolstering its portfolio from the rainbow nation with Hamilton Russell Vineyards.

Sales of branded Champagne grew 4.7% to £196 million in the UK off-trade in 2014 as shoppers opted for famous names ahead of retailer exclusives.

North South Wines has boosted its range for cash and carries, a key market for the new agency.

Off-Piste has released an international varietal-led wine range called Most Wanted.

Supermarket range culls were “necessary” and “overdue”, according to wine information company IWSR.

Booker has agreed a £40 million deal to buy the Budgens and Londis brands from Musgrave.

Detailing calorie content on labels of beers, wines and spirits is a 20th century solution to a 21st century obesity problem, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association claims it has saved the industry £350 million in the past 18 months through its campaigning.

Tesco has teamed up with Marston’s and the Campaign for Real Ale to launch a bottle-conditioned golden ale.

Copestick Murray is set to promote its I Heart wine brand at summer festivals this year in a branded VW camper van.

Free Run Wines has launched Mr Peel’s Manavista, a pink grapefruit-flavoured aromatised wine-based drink.

SAB Miller has snapped up Greenwich-based brewer Meantime as the trend that sees the world’s largest beer suppliers buying out their craft counterparts continues.

Tesco is drastically reducing its wine range to arrest haemorrhaging sales as the discounters’ growing dominance forces sweeping changes across the big supermarkets.

South Africa’s golden run of consecutive growth in the off-trade has come to an end as sales dropped 3% in volume and 1% in value to £525 million (Nielsen, year to February 2015).