Supermarkets need to stop concentrating on deals and discounts and sell wines for their own sake, according to Paul MacKenzie, chief executive of consumer research company The Source.

MacKenzie told the LIWF conference that signs giving information about deals rather than the wines in the deals tell consumers that wine doesn’t matter.

“These signs say: don’t worry about the wine, just buy the offer – and that is what consumers have started to do.”

As an alternative example, he suggested that at Christmas retailers should focus on wines for Christmas Day – with a special offer as an added incentive to buy.

MacKenzie also said the wine trade needs to think less about where wine comes from and more about where it is going, with aspirational imagery showing consumers enjoying wine in different situations – rather than “grapes, vineyards, a man looking at or smelling wine or bottle and glass pornography”.

He also warned supermarkets that sections labelled fine wine tell consumers: “Don’t come to this section, you don’t know enough.”

He said more and more consumers are avoiding the wine aisle altogether in favour of fridges and gondola-end displays.

MacKenzie’s solution was that the trade needs to open up by thinking more about what the consumer is doing with the wine than where it is coming from, telling the stories behind the wines, and selling “solutions” to what consumers want rather than offers.