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Southern wines booming in UK on-trade

Wines from the Southern Hemisphere are selling at an exceptional rate in British bars and restaurants, gaining market share from the Old World nations, market figures have revealed.

Argentine wine made the biggest gains in British bars and restaurants in the year to 20 June (Photo: Wiki)
Argentine wine made the biggest gains in British bars and restaurants in the year to 20 June (Photo: Wiki)

With the exception of wines from South Africa, which declined in volume sales by 6% and value sales by 5% in the year to 20 June 2015, southern winemaking nations are increasingly being favoured by British diners and bar-goers.

Argentinian wines witnessed the biggest growth of all, with 33% more wine being sold on last year accounting for a 30% growth in value. In total, 147,000 hectolitres of Argentine wine was sold in UK bars and restaurants, worth £112 million.

Australia, which is by far the biggest-selling country-of-origin for wines in the UK on-trade, 1.67m hectolitres were sold in the year, up 5%. The value of Aussie wine sold in bars and restaurants grew 3% to £1.16bn.

As much as 10% more wine from New Zealand – whose Sauvignon Blanc is the zeitgeist tipple at the minute – was sold in British venues in the year, bringing it up to 350,000 hectolitres worth £341m, up by 11%.

In Chile, a more modest growth in volume and value was witnessed, with 648,000 hectolitres sold for £459m, up 3% and 4% respectively.

The figures, compiled by Nielsen for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, also showed similar growth rates in the 12 weeks to 20 June for these countries’ wines, meaning that the trend does not look like slowing down soon.

Conversely, the Old World winemaking nations of Spain, Italy, France and Germany all saw their volume and value sales fall significantly in the year, with the latter suffering the most. Germany, the 10th largest contributor of wine in the UK on-trade, saw volumes and value both drop by 14%.

However, the Old World nations can look to the premiumisation of the UK market for better news. French wine, while contracting in volume by 11% and value by 8% in the year, sold at a 3% higher average price per bottle than last year – the biggest growth of all the top 10 winemaking countries.

Alex Linsley, head of market insights at British on-trade supplier Bibendum PLB, said that consumers are increasingly saving up for big occasions to spend money on wine in bars and restaurants: “Therefore, while France is struggling in the off-trade, it has been outperforming the on-trade, with value sales, especially above £20, growing.”

“If you’re a wary drinker, the familiarity of big name regions from established countries is the safer bet – and worth paying extra for,” he argued.

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