Higher prices and confidence in indies

The average price of a bottle of wine sold in independents has risen to £8.96, according to OLN’s exclusive poll of the sector.

The figure represents a 3% increase on last year’s £8.72.

Although broadly in line with increases across the wine market as a result of duty and production costs, the average price is just one of several barometers pointing to increasing confidence in the sector, highlighted by the research.

Overall, our study identifies that there are now 510? specialist wine merchants, run by around 360 operators.

Comparing the average turnover of stores, the annual survey estimates the total independent wine market to be worth in the region of £250 million.

When it comes to specialisms, France still remains the dominant force, a?position it has strengthened in the past year as more independents identified the country’s wines as their mainstay.

However, Italy was the runaway winner when it came to identifying the country they were eyeing up for future growth?.

Following the demise of First Quench, a growing number of retailers (87%) also reported noticing new customers coming? in, up from 72% in 2009.

As a result, in a bid to appeal to the chain’s former shoppers, 29% of independents planned to take on more everyday-priced wines, although, encouragingly, 24% were looking to introduce more premium wines and 75% said they were looking for more diverse styles.

OLN’s exclusive research can be seen in full on pages 14-16?