UK independent wine sector ‘thriving’

18th November, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Despite significant challenges the future of the UK’s independent wine retail sector looks bright, according to a recent report by Wine Intelligence that described it as “thriving”.

shopping-for-wineConsumers have never had more choice when it comes to purchasing wine with the number of independent UK retailers increasing by 50% since 2007 to 750.

The sector is now worth nearly £500 million and, according to the UK Independent Wine Retail 2015 report, is set to grow further.

The report found that value for money, knowledgable staff and a good wine selection were the most important factors for consumers choosing to shop at independent wine retailers, based on a survey of 1,001 regular wine drinkers.

Of those surveyed 55% said they “really like the range of wines on offer”, 39% liked being able to get recommendations from shop staff while 37% said they believed independent wine merchants offered good value for money.

However despite consumers being aware of independent merchants’ key selling points, just 13% said that they “sometimes” buy wines from independent specialists.

Many reported feeling intimidated by venturing inside an independent wine retailer, 11% of women and 6% of men, preferring instead to buy from supermarkets.

Other reasons given for not shopping at independent wine retailers was a perception that they were too expensive, or simply that there wasn’t an outlet nearby.

The sector is still more appealing to men with 17% of male wine drinkers choosing to shop in independents compared to just 10% of women.

Richard Halstead, Wine Intelligence chief executive officer said: “Independents arguably represent the most innovative and dynamic sector of the UK wine trade. There are challenges to overcome – attracting more female customers and changing perceptions that wines are expensive are two of the most urgent priorities. But the sector has proved remarkably resilient during turbulent economic times and there is every reason to believe that more growth will occur as the economy strengthens, and imaginative independents continue to add new elements to their offer.”

Despite the challenges, the report, published in partnership with The Wine Merchant magazine, predicts more growth for the UK independent wine sector as retailers diversify their offer. Enomatic-style wine dispensers allowing customers to sample wine before purchasing have undoubtedly added to value to many retailers, while more than half of independents either already sell wine for consumption on the premises, or are considering doing so.

Many more are introducing food to their stocks with cheese, meats and speciality breads becoming increasingly common.

For a snapshot of the sector and to find out which independent retailers are currently setting the pace, see our top 10 UK independent wine retailers part one and two.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more