Boom over for bio wines at Berry Bros
Sales of organic and biodynamic wines through Berry Bros & Rudd have dropped dramatically in 2011.
In a review of last year’s trends, the company recorded a 54% decline in the volume of biodynamic wines sold compared to 2010, while organic wines fell even further, dropping as much as 63%.
Such declines follow falls in 2010 too, but are in contrast with a biodynamic boom in 2009 when the retailer experienced a surge in volume sales of 87%, and a 4% rise for organics.
However, it appears that the shrinking demand for such products is not related to a search for cheaper labels, with Berry Bros & Rudd witnessing a marked increase in the amount spent on an average bottle of wine since 2008.
The average cost, it reported, has gone up by almost 56%, or just under £20, from £33 in 2008 to £51.60 last year, significantly more than the average bottle price of £4.71 for the total UK off-trade.
However, Berry Bros & Rudd has suffered a slight decline in bottle prices during 2011, with the 12-month average of £51.60 down on 2010’s £52.70.
Price trends aside, encouragingly the retailer noted a growing demand for education, with a 71% increase in bookings for its tutored tastings and wines courses since 2008.
Elsewhere, it highlighted the strength of the Champagne category, reporting the strongest sales for three years, with 2011’s volumes up 17% on 2010, and 41% in value.
Indeed, in contrast with a previous report by the drinks business on trends in the London on-trade, the retailer stressed, “Despite a mood of austerity, people haven’t been swapping Champagne for Cava”.
Nevertheless, the relatively inexpensive sparkling wine Prosecco has seen a 28% volume sales increase, more than Champagne.
Further trends from Berry Bros & Rudd during last year included a 25% volume and 50% value rise in English wine sales as well as a 6% increase in the volume of French wine sold, making it the largest country category for the retailer, with a sales total in 2011 of 1.3m bottles.
Finally, in terms of the popularity of grape varieties, it was Cabernet Sauvignon that proved the top seller, doubling in sales over the past three years, with Chardonnay in second place, and Pinot Noir in third.
Looking ahead to this year, Alun Griffiths MW, Berry Bros & Rudd’s buying director said, “We predict that while Champagne sales have held up well, Prosecco will see substantial growth.
“But it’s the UK that’s the real success story in the sparkling wine category with some tremendous English sparkling wine available,” he concluded.