Shiraz ousts Merlot as British shoppers' red wine favourite

Shiraz has overtaken Merlot as the number one varietal red wine in the off-trade.

Both are in growth but Shiraz has grown more quickly in value terms to a total of £343.3 million, compared to Merlot at £338.9 million, according to the latest Nielsen data (year to September 2017).

Data for the same period a year earlier shows Shiraz at £314.5 million and Merlot ahead at £329.8 million.

Retailers have confirmed that sales for Shiraz have been strong over 2017.

Majestic Wines said Shiraz has been “a real growth category this year, particularly premium offerings from Australia”.

Jack Merrylees, events manager, said: “At entry level, too, we are seeing customers opt for Australian Shiraz as a weekday option. Our Majestic Loves Shiraz has done incredibly well since launch this year as part of our 10-bottle own-label range.”

Merrylees said Majestic is planning a range review of Australia next year, headed by its new Australian buyer, Charles Cutteridge, to take advantage of this change in perception.

He added: “Buying and merchandising director Richard Weaver has tipped Australia to be one to watch in 2018.”

The Co-op noted that Shiraz has been its number one red grape variety for a while.

Wine buyer Edward Robinson said: “Our Australian range may lead the way in terms of our sales, but Shiraz/Syrah in all its guises enjoys success from South Africa, South America, California and, of course, France.

“In fact, it is the many different possible expressions of this grape variety which is surely one of its most endearing attributes.”

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