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UK wine trade ‘destroying value for volume’

There is “an unfortunate continuation of destroying value for volume” in the UK wine trade, claims Enotria chief executive Troy Christensen.

Troy Christensen is former CEO at Accolade Wines and current chief executive at Enotria

Christensen, who was invited to speak at an inaugural gathering for Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma graduates on Monday (7 September), accused the trade of using nothing but price to drive volumes, but expressed his optimism for the UK due to the high number of wine professionals in the market and the WSET itself.

Picking on Prosecco, he showed how volume sales had grown at the expense of value in the UK, despite the product’s popularity [and impending supply constraints].

Indeed, looking at exports of the Italian sparkling wine to the UK over the past four years, he recorded a 67% volume increase and a 60% value increase.

Proving that such a trend was specific to the UK, he showed that exports to the US had risen more in value, than volume – increasing by 44% and 41% respectively.

“We are selling every bit of Prosecco we can at a discount – that’s crazy,” he said about the UK off-trade, before stating, “And this a great product, one that’s engaging consumers.”

Summing up, he said that the UK wine trade was “not investing in brands, but using price to drive the volumes.”

Nevertheless, he said that he was “an optimist”, because “of the people in this room and the WSET”, and called on those present to “build a [wine] category for the future by working together.”

Finally, he stated, “This alumni group is a great vehicle to do that, so look to this not just as social vehicle, but a way to help build the category.”

Over 120 WSET diploma graduates, together with invited industry guests, attended the evening at Vinopolis on Monday 7 September.

Graduates came from across the UK and included alumni who graduated back in 1973. The event also previewed WSET’s brand refresh, which will roll out in October.

WSET chief executive, Ian Harris, said: “It was fantastic to see such a large gathering of WSET alumni, and especially pleasing to reconnect with some of our longest standing graduates while also getting to know some of the newest. We now have 8,519 graduates of our flagship diploma qualification – a community we know will grow.”

On the motivation for the event, alumni engagement manager, Sula Richards noted that “A survey of around 700 alumni told us that our graduates continue to look to WSET as a source of knowledge and expertise, but they wanted more from us through content driven events, like tonight’s – which we hope will be the first of many.”

The “Alumni Insight Series” will now continue in San Francisco for an event on 21 September, with talks from Antonio Galloni and Beau Timken, followed by an event in Toronto on 28 September, with talks from Peter Oliver and Maggie Campbell.

WSET diploma graduates and current diploma students who wish to attend these events should contact

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