English and Welsh wines see "notable spike" in lockdown retail sales

Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) has reported a “notable spike” in retail sales of English and Welsh wines in the last few months. 

The news, which coincides with English Wine Week celebrations this week, highlights multiple retailers, which are leading the way with English wine sales.

Waitrose & Partners reports sales of English and Welsh wines are up 40% year on year, with demand for local and regional wines soaring.

Specialist wine retailer Majestic has also reported notable strong growth in English wines during the lockdown period, with volumes up 102% on the same period last year. The company said it has seen a marked increase in demand for English wines – in particular still wines – and has recently boosted in range with the introduction of a number of new lines. Still rosé in particular is one area Majestic highlighted as being “an exciting frontier” following a doubling of demand.

Robert Cooke, chief commercial officer at Majestic, said: “The last few months have been challenging for everyone connected with our industry. But one of the few postitives has been the way in which customers have really used this as an opportunity to branch our and try something new. Perhaps because they have been faced with a more restricted routine – wine has been on way at least in which they can broaden their horizons. And to see English wine as one of the key areas they have chosen to explore has been fantastic.

“It is no coincidence that we have seen a boom in interest. The quality is there, and with the excitement around English Wine Week and new suppliers and styles coming into play all the time – there’s plenty of headroom to go at. It has just been a case of giving consumers the right insight and time to delve in.”

Independent wine shops are also noticing an increase in demand for English wine.

Emily Silva, head of retail and marketing at The Oxford Wine Company, said: “The arena where we have seen the biggest change has been English still wine. We have seen a 221% increase in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2019. This is partly due to the fact that we have added quite a few new English still wines to the list as we have seen a big growth in customer demand.”

Matt Hodgson of Grape Britannia said: “Since the pandemic reset everything we have been delighted by the support from the local community to whom we deliver wine by bike, but also by the significant spike in national sales, with orders this past quarter running at almost 400% of the previous quarter.

“This has been driven by both returning and new customers, demonstrating the huge potential market, but also the quality of the English and Welsh wines that we sell - customers don't come back if they don’t like what is in the bottles they have bought.”

Simon Robinson, Chairman of Wine GB said: “These reports from retailers spell fantastic news for the industry and as more and more consumers are supporting the local industry and enjoying all styles of our wines it shows what a great future this category has.
“There is such genuine support and commitment from the UK trade to our producers as they inspire their customers with an ever more accessible choice of wines from the UK. Our keen message to wine drinkers across the country is that our wines are
readily available and ready to be enjoyed!”

He said: “Our industry has seen some real challenges since the start of the pandemic with the closure of the hospitality industry and it is excellent news that this sector is opening up again on July 4.”

As restaurants and bars reopen, so vineyards themselves are starting to open to the public in line with the easing of restrictions. Whilst few are accessible during English Wine Week, wine drinkers are responding enthusiastically to the many virtual events and promotions that producers and retailers have set up instead and increasingly engaging with them on social media.

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