Majestic: Top wine and spirits trends for 2018

Forget gin, Brits are favouring a new tipple for 2018

“Majestic have recorded a 25% increase year-on-year in sales of sherry in 2017. What used to be Granny’s favourite has dropped its age appeal by 50 years, with it being entirely acceptable for those in their 20s and 30s to be seen with a sherry glass in hand. And it’s not just sherry that’s undergoing a renaissance. Other fortified friends are making a comeback with port sales seeing an 18% volume increase in 2017 and the unsung Madeira currently up 224%, versus the same period in 2016.”

As Sherry lover myself, my heart does a leap when the fortunes of Sherry look set to improve. Alas, this has been a recurring trend for many years, with the trade willing consumers to embrace Sherry with the love it deserves. This year, there is once again hope for Sherry, and it isn’t completely hopeful.

Premium Sherry in particular is helping to revive the market, believes Gonzalez Byass, with the IWSR predicting sales of premium Sherry to grow 18% by 2021, helped by a boom in premium Spanish restaurants and interest by younger consumers.

Speaking at a seminar in ProWein this week, Gonzalez Byass’ chairman Mauricio González Gordon declared that “volume is dead” when it comes to Sherry, believing that producers should instead focus on increasing value sales by pushing its higher value offer.

“We are quite excited about the latest numbers on Sherry,” Gordon. “We feel that consumers attitudes are changing. We are seeing a lot of younger consumers coming into the category and there is a lot of activity at the top end, talking about Sherry by the press and sommeliers.

Further hope comes in the form of top winemaker Peter Sisseck, of Spain’s Pingus, who this year confirmed that he had bought the small  but famous Sherry solera Camborio with the aim of making a top fino – Spain’s “greatest white wine”. The involvement of such a well-respected winemaker can only serve to further Sherry’s cause, and almost certainly at the higher end of the market.

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