It Asda be a result
Chile and South Africa are enjoying their spells of media attention, while Asda moves into the number one retailer slot
THE TURN OF autumn usually heralds the return of the wine world to the pressures of reality. As well as the important task of getting the grapes off the vines, September is the month when the wine industry sales calendar kicks into high gear, with the first of the trade tastings, the start of many retailers’ listings cycles, and the launch of a number of PR and marketing campaigns.
As such, it’s always an interesting month to report on for Wine Intelligence in the press. And this year is certainly no exception. There are two good news stories to report among the tracking data for countries.
Chile had a strong September, taking 11.5% of mentions, with at least some of this associated with the annual tasting which took place mid-month. Perhaps more encouraging, the data showed an improvement in share of voice for Chile over the same period last year.
However, the star performance in September has to be South Africa, which had no tasting event as a peg (theirs took place in early October) and yet achieved 12% of mentions, a significant advance on both its performance last year and its long-term average.
For retailers, the big story of the month was Asda, which has been focusing more attention of late on getting positive news into the consumer press about its revamped wine offer. In a month where no one retailer was streets ahead of the rest, Asda actually managed to get the largest share of voice, with 8.8% of mentions, just over twice its long-term average.
The gains appeared to be at the expense mainly of Oddbins and Waitrose, and particularly in the £5-£10 price point, an area where Asda has not historically had a strong presence.
One long-term trend to be aware of: the increasing focus by brand owners, generic bodies and retailers on the £5-£10 space, and particularly £5-£7, appears to be mirrored in the type of wines that make the tasting books of journalists and then into print.
There are always arguments as to how many readers these columns really have, and how much effect a particular recommendation has on a rate of sale (sometimes it increases, other times not).
However, the data here, recently published Nielsen statistics on wine sales over £5, would suggest that the £5 barrier would appear to be crumbling in the face of concerted pressure from all elements of the supply chain.
The proof of the pudding, however, will be Christmas trading, traditionally a time when people tend to splash out.
The signs from elsewhere in the high street are that consumer spending has been reined in thanks to interest rate rises and uncertainty over house prices. Will wine spending buck the trend?