Wine figures bring optimism

25 January, 2008

While the economic climate looks gloomy, light wine sales at least are up

The value of light wine sales grew faster than volume last year at 6.4 per cent compared with 4.3 per cent, according to the latest Nielsen statistics.

The figures, for the 12 months to Dec 29 2007, bring at least some good news as the trade faces up to an uncertain economic situation this year.

New Zealand's value sales were the ­fastest growing in the UK , up 27.7 per cent. New Zealand Winegrowers UK director Warren Adamson described the growth as "phenomenal".

He said: "We're still outperforming the market and we still haven't seen what our true capacity is in the UK market."

Chile also fared well with 23.3 per cent value growth. Wines of Chile UK director Michael Cox said the positive figures reflected "some strong brands, some new brands coming in to the market, and, more importantly, retailers having the confidence to list increasing numbers of premium Chilean wines between £6 and £12".

Italian wine had the third fastest-growing sales, increasing by 12.4 per cent.

The average price of a bottle of wine in the UK off-trade is now £4.01, with New World wine performing above the average at £4.15.

Off-trade wine: top-sellers by value

Country Value (£ million)

1

Australia 1,112

2

France 786

3

USA 746

4

Italy 506

5

South Africa 359

6

Chile 338

7

Spain 308

8

Germany 150

9

New Zealand 143

10

Argentina 63




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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