Independents have the upper hand

Independent wine merchants are racing ahead of their multiple counterparts in terms of average bottle price, store openings and general optimism about the state of the market. Are they right to be so upbeat? I think so.

They are not going to defeat the supermarkets at their own game, but they can probably beat them in other ways. Sainsbury's, for example, has an admirable fine wine collection but it has scaled back its range from well over 100 to a target of 60, and admits small parcels just don't work. Independents who fill in the gaps that their bigger rivals inevitably leave have a bright future.

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