The Winery Exchange has released a range of 5.5% abv wine-based RTDs into the off-trade.

Heineken has added a Dark Fruit flavor variant to the Strongbow line-up and it will be exclusive to the off-trade from June.

The average cost of a bottle of wine has risen to its highest-ever figure of £5.11 on the back of escalating taxation – but there are signs consumers are still prepared to trade up, according to new Nielsen data.

The Co-operative Group’s new wine boss plans to move away from discounts and overhaul its own-label range.

Oddbins is set to undergo its first overhaul in 17 years with a new look across stores as its owner pledges to make the chain profitable by 2015.

Tesco has launched a website that allows customers to buy cases of wine at discount prices through an emerging e-commerce model called co-buying.

Suppliers have reignited the debate over the approach taken by retailers’ buying teams with calls for them to spend more time in-store and less at head office or visiting wineries abroad.

Australian Vintage has vowed to put Aussie Riesling in the spotlight in a bid to revive the varietal on the back of its successful repositioning of Semillion.

Selfridges promises its customers “an Aladdin’s cave of new, boutique, exclusive one-off products and gifts” after opening a new wine store.

Westons Cider has introduced a price-marked pack for Stowford Press to build on volume growth of 69% in the off-trade (IRI Volume MAT to April 27, 2013).

Sainsbury’s has upped the ante in the own-label wine battleground with the launch of the next phase of its Winemakers’ Selection range.

Wine Australia’s chief executive Andrew Cheesman has resigned to “pursue other opportunities within the wine sector”.

C&C has reported a small decrease in net revenue for the business year to the end of February 2013 but operating profit rose 2.4 per cent.

Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has bought a 6.5ha vineyard in Bel Air, California, for a fee believed to be in the region of £19 million. 

HMRC officers raided 49 off licences in Edinburgh and seized 5,641 litres of counterfeit booze. 

Portman Group chairman Seymour Fortescue will step down on 18 June after four years in the role.

Winemaker Katie Jones has started believing in angels after 2,500 Naked Wines customers came to her rescue when vandals destroyed her entire white vintage.

Laithwaite’s Wine has signed former England cricket captain David Gower as its new brand ambassador.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt insists the omission of minimum unit pricing laws from the Queen’s speech does not amount to a final nail in the coffin for the planned legislation.

Leading South African producers have urged the country’s generic wine body to review its marketing message and recruit from overseas as the hunt begins for its new head.

Tesco is offering visitors to this month’s London International Wine Fair the chance to pitch new ideas to its buying team in a repeat of its “speed-dating” style activity.

Global sensations The Three Tons of Fun have been confirmed as the headline entertainment for the Off Licence News and Origin Wines VIP industry bash taking place at this month’s London International Wine Fair.

Paul Walsh, Diageo chief executive of 13 years, will step down within two months and hand over power to the firm’s chief operating officer Ivan Menezes.

The London International Wine Fair will return to Kensington Olympia in 2014, with cheaper rates designed to attract exhibitors that have deserted the event in recent years.

Retailers can add £480 million to the convenience channel by improving their spirits ranges, according to First Drinks.

Lambrini is to be the broadcast sponsor of the British Soap Awards which will be screened live on ITV in May.

Macallan has released three malt whiskies to complete the line-up of its new 1824 Series.

Off-trade beer sales stabilised in the first quarter of 2013 after three successive quarters of decline.

Fuller’s has introduced a new-look for its premium bottled ales range, led by London Pride.

The firm behind energy drink Pussy has been banned from running an ad that was deemed sexually explicit, derogatory, sexist and degrading to women.

Wines of South Africa chief Su Birch has announced she is stepping down after 14 years in the job. 

Pernod Ricard UK is launching a £6.99 price marked pack for its Campo Viejo Rioja brand.

The Chancellor’s decision to cut beer tax but overlook wine and spirits has unfairly penalised women, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Retailers are being urged to keep tighter controls on the way managers and staff use social media sites after Oddbins landed in hot water over a Twitter post following the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Innis & Gunn plans to drive growth in the craft and speciality beer category by helping smaller brewers get their products on to supermarket shelves.

New "weatherproof" Pimm's

19 April, 2013

Diageo is launching a special-edition version of Pimm’s to inject fresh appeal into the quintessential summer drink brand and sustain sales regardless of the weather.

The head of the body which represents small retailers has vowed that fighting local restrictions on off-licence numbers will be a key political objective for the year ahead.

Heineken will brew, sell and distribute Kingfisher in the UK from October.

The Portman Group has urged retailers not to stock Jody Scheckter’s Laverstoke Park Farm Ale and Lager after the former Formula 1 champion ignored the group’s ruling that the packaging must be altered.

JTI in ad campaign row

18 April, 2013

A row has broken out over the latest ad from JTI in its fight against plain packaging for tobacco products.

VK launches Big Blue

17 April, 2013

Global Brands is launching a 50cl version of VK Blue into the off-trade.

A leading producer believes favourable currency rates mean South African wines can now beat the likes of Australia in offering “exceptional value for money” at all price points.

Retailers can receive tips on issues like range and layout by visiting a new website from Diageo called My Store Matters.

South African wine and spirits producer Distell has paid £160 million to buy Scotch whisky firm Burn Stewart Distillers.

Drinks charity Drinkaware said visits to its website received a sharp spike after a story broke suggesting Britons fail to report their true alcohol intake.

Ninety-three wines selected by The Wine Gang from a south west France tasting of more than 200 wines will be promoted in the UK.

An early Easter drove a 12% rise in BWS value sales at the major multiples during the four weeks to March 30 (Nielsen, compared to the same period in 2012).

A new gin is being launched into the off-trade aimed at men.

A new study suggests that Britain could join New Zealand, the Netherlands, China and Tasmania as the world’s foremost wine growing regions by 2050 if climate change continues.

Accolade’s plan to increase its presence in the ultra-premium wine market has gathered pace with the news that Majestic will stock its Eileen Hardy Chardonnay. 

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COMMENT

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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