15th April, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Exports of Italian sparkling wine to the UK leapt by 40.2% in 2013, strengthening its status as the UK’s fizz of choice.
Exports of sparkling wine from Italy to the UK jumped a “whopping” 40.2% in 2013, according to the latest wine trends report from analysts at Rabobank.
Stephen Rannekleiv, one of the authors of the report, said he believed the UK was following a similar trend as in the US in which Prosecco has become an “everyday treat” and “affordable luxury”.
He said: “I looked at this issue for the US market last year, Prosecco is also booming here as well. What we saw, however, was that Prosecco (and let’s not forget Cava) were not really stealing sales from Champagne. Both saw growth here in 2012, its just that Prosecco saw much greater growth.
“I suspect that in the UK, like the US, the much lower average price of Prosecco is helping to open up new drinking occasions for sparkling wine. Like Champagne, Prosecco and Cava are wonderful products, but the lower price tag means that they can be enjoyed as part of everyday occasions. Champagne still holds an important place in the mind of the consumer but it is more for special occasions, while Prosecco and Cava can be enjoyed with friends on a Tuesday evening.”
Earlier this year sales of Prosecco overtook sales of Champagne with 307 million bottles shipped globally last year, while Champagne sales lagged behind at 304 million bottles.
Last week it was confirmed that shipments of Champagne to the UK had fallen 5.1% by volume and 3.8% in value in 2013, however the UK remains the Champagne region’s biggest export market.
Justin Apthorp, buying director at Majestic Wine, told The Telegraph he believed that Prosecco has become the UK’s preferred sparkling wine while Champagne is now reserved for more intimate gatherings and special occasions.
He said: “The growth of Prosecco has really stepped up. It’s become a really social drink which is not just for celebrations but for drinking with friends and family on a Friday and Saturday night and was very popular at summer parties last year.
“Prosecco has become the wine of choice for events – a growing trend in recent years.”