Wine Report 2007: Tough times for top wines

With four of the top five wines seeing small declines in sales in the past year, Gallo has come within a whisker of claiming the off-trade crown. It has closed the gap on Hardys and is virtually level-pegging with its Australian rival on any measure you care to mention: value, volume, market penetration and average bottle price.

So Constellation’s biggest brand clings on to the top spot, but the business as a whole has had a tricky year. Stowells, Kumala and Banrock Station also registered a fall in sales. Echo Falls provides a ray of light, with a 36 per cent increase in both value and volume, but US stablemate Paul Masson was down 10 per cent.

For the second year running the top 10 is entirely dominated by New World brands. JP Chenet is again the best performing European wine, and another sales uplift has seen it make a convincing case for a place in the big league. Piat d’Or, the second placed French wine, saw some serious declines. Yet it remains roughly twice the size of of its nearest French challenger, French Connection – which also had a disappointing year – and is now at risk of being caught by Blason de Bourgogne.

Foster’s EMEA has plenty of cause for celebration. Wolf Blass, Lindemans and Rosemount are all in growth – though Penfolds has been excluded from this particular party and continues its spectacular tumble down the top 50. Remember, this was a brand that just two years ago was at number 22 in the OLN chart, and in 2001 was a top 10 player. Now it is just six places off the bottom.

Nobody will begrudge Foster’s its success, but a slightly deeper analysis reveals issues that may need resolving. All three of its main growth brands are seeing volumes accelerate faster than value, with average sales prices falling.

One of the star performances undoubtedly comes from First Cape. The South African wine from Brand Phoenix has been maintaining a seemingly effortless ascent of the sales chart for some time and is now worth £31 million in the off-trade. All in all it was a pretty flawless showing, with value up ahead of volume, and market penetration and average bottle price rising. It’s still some way behind Kumala, but if trends continue it has a realistic chance of being the top-selling South African wine in the UK.

Namaqua – another South African brand that is managing to defy the downturn in Cape wine sales in the UK – had a good year. It remains the cheapest wine in the top 30, but did register a modest increase in its average price. Life was not quite so much fun for Arniston Bay, down 11 per cent.

It was a good year for anyone investing in New Zealand wine. Montana – which achieves the highest average bottle price of any brand in the top 50 – turned in a solid performance and remains the number one Kiwi brand in the market, though Oyster Bay is catching up fast, while Villa Maria is also marching up the table.

Brands slipping out of the top 50 include KWV, Goiya, Cono Sur and 35° South. Also gone is Yellow Tail, the world’s fifth best selling wine brand, which has set its sights on a top 10 place in the UK.

* The Nielsen read of this sector includes some wines not recorded in last year’s figures. This explains why some wines are shown as new entries despite a fall in their retail sales value.

GB Off-trade sales
Year to May 19 2007
PositionBrand Supplier Country of Origin
% sales change
1 (1)
Hardys Constellation Australia
-2
2 (3)

Gallo E&J Gallo USA
-12
3 (2)

Blossom Hill Percy Fox USA
0
4 (4)

Jacob's Creek Pernod Ricard Australia
-0
5 (6)

Stowells Constellation Various
-4
6 (7)

Wolf Blass Foster's EMEA Australia
20
7 (9)

Lindemans Foster's EMEA Australia
37
8 (5)

Kumala Constellation South Africa
-34
9 (8)

Banrock Station Constellation Australia
-7
10 (10)

Echo Falls Constellation USA
36
11 (11)

JP Chenet Les Grand Chais France
37
12 (13)

Concha & Toro Concha & Toro Chile
28
13 (15)

Montana Pernod Ricard New Zealand
14
14 (24)

First Cape Oyster Bay South Africa
66
15 (17)

Namaqua Raisin Social South Africa
24
16 (14)

Rosemount Foster's EMEA Australia
1
17 (12)

Piat d'Or Percy Fox France
-18
18 (28)

Oyster Bay Delegat's New Zealand
70
19 (-)

La Gioiosa Enotria Italy
60
20 (-)

Fiordaliso Enotria Italy
38
21 (20)

Campo Viejo Pernod Richard Spain
7
22 (19)

Isla Negra Concha & Toro Chile
-3
23 (18)

Oxford Landing Negociants Australia
-8
24 (25)

Calloway Crossing McGuigan Simeon Australia
33
25 (23)

Rivercrest E&J Gallo USA
4
26 (33)

Black Tower Reh Kendermann Germany
34
27 (21)

Arniston Bay The Company of Wine People South Africa
-11
28 (22)

Paul Masson Constellation USA
-8
29 (16)

Fetzer Brown-Forman USA
-40
30 (27)

Torres JE Fells Spain
-8
31 (-)

Viña Maipo Concha & Toro Chile
157
32 (45)

Villa Maria Hatch Mansfield New Zealand
68
33 (26)

Canti D&D Wines Italy
-24
34 (37)

Turner Road Constellation USA
82
35 (44)

Nobilo Constellation New Zealand
49
36 (35)

Mateus First Drinks Portugal
0
37 (36)

La Châsse du Pape Guy Anderson Wines France
2
38 (40)

McWilliams E&J Gallo Australia
14
39 (-)

Rawnsley Estate McGuigan Simeon Australia
117
40 (32)

Berberana United Wineries Spain
-12
41 (29)

French Connection Bottle Green France
-12
42 (42)

Brown Brothers Brown Brothers Australia
14
43 (-)

Blason de Bourgogne HwCg France
41
44 (30)

Penfolds Foster's EMEA Australia
-27
45 (-)

McGuigan McGuigan Simeon Australia
-25
46 (-)

Yaldara Hall & Bramley Australia
255
47 (-)

Luis Felipe Edwards D&D Wines Chile
294
48 (-)

Chileno PLB Chile
27
49 (46)

Faustino Cellar Trends Spain
11
50 (39)

Calvet Guy Anderson Wines France
-13

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