M&S expects sport and the royals to drive sparkling wine growth in 2018

This summer's World Cup football and royal celebrations are forecast to give another boost to sparkling wine sales by Marks & Spencer.

The chain says a patriotic mood could particularly benefit English sparkling wines, which saw a sales rise of 15% in its stores last year.

Liz Williams, head of food public relations for M&S, said: “We have seen sales of English sparkling wine go from strength to strength at M&S over the past few years and we currently sell 17 English sparkling wines across our stores. 

“Sales of English sparkling rose 15% last year versus the previous year and we anticipate that this trend will continue in 2018, particularly in light of a royal baby, two royal weddings and a World Cup this year.

“English sparkling rosé has also been doing well, with a year on year increase of around 10% across our English pink fizz range.

“It’s wonderful to see M&S customers buying into locally-made wines and to be supporting English winegrowers.

“The quality of English sparkling gets better every year and there are new producers starting out all over England, so we predict a very bright future for home grown wine.”

M&S’s positive message about English fizz comes as the Wine & Spirit Trade Association revealed sales data which shows a 6% rise in all sparkling wines in the off-trade in 2017.

It said sales topped 120 million bottles, worth over £850 million, for the year.

Total UK sales have grown by 89% in volume and 206% in value in the past five years.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Fizz is traditionally enjoyed by couples on Valentine’s Day, but it is clear from booming sales, over the last five years, that sparkling wine is a drink enjoyed all year round.

“UK consumers now have a far greater range to choose from than ever before, including world class English sparkling wines.

“To allow consumers to continue to enjoy a wide range of quality sparkling wines, the WSTA is calling on government to redress the UK’s excessively high duty rates which have helped leave Britain with the fourth most expensive alcohol prices in Europe.”

The WSTA said the tax on a bottle of fizz is £2.77, which is 28% higher than for still wine.