Sparkling wine sales surged over Christmas in UK
Despite families not being able to unite over Christmas, the 2020 festive season saw a huge increase in sales of sparkling wine at UK retailers, with Lidl selling a million bottles of pink Prosecco.
As reported by db, Brits bought more and better Champagne from retailers than last year, compensating for the lack of parties and festive events.
Most supermarkets saw an increase in sales across a range of sparkling wines. Volume was driven by Prosecco, with Waitrose reporting San Leo Prosecco Brut as its bestseller.
Elsewhere, M&S’s biggest seller was its own-label Prosecco, with 1.34 million bottles sold, 7% more than in the 2019 Christmas period.
Prosecco rosé timed its entry to the UK in November 2020 with precision, just in time for Christmas orders. Lidl sold 1 million bottles of the pink fizz, while M&S sold 840,000 bottles of Prosecco Rosé.
Rebecca Hull MW, sparkling wine buyer for Waitrose, described the success of the retailer’s new pink Prosecco, La Gioiosa Rosé Millesimato, as “incredibly popular”.
While not representative of a normal year, supermarkets must have been pleased to see sales of pink Prosecco augmenting rather than cannibalising sales of white Prosecco.
Consumers also used Christmas as an excuse to trade up to the expanding range of sparkling wines offered between Prosecco and Champagne.
Across supermarkets and independent merchants alike, retailers quoted French crémants as their fastest growing category. Sales at M&S of the new trophy-winning Classics Crémant de Bourgogne were up 136% on December last year.
For Bourgogne producers, this was no surprise. In the 11 months up to December, exports to the UK of crémant de Bourgogne were up 33.1% by volume and 54.4% by value, building on the impressive success of the year before.
Could crémant de Bourgogne become the flagship tipple of lockdown? It’s about time that UK retailers realise the promise of crémants, according to Marcel Combes, director at Louis Boillot and spokesperson for UPEC Bourgogne (Union of Crémant winemakers).
‘”First thing to note is that there’s not one single crémant. You can sometimes see 10 different Proseccos on the shelves, and I hope one day to see some recognition of the eight different crémants in France, each with a distinctive style, across a range of price points according to their production costs,” Combes told db.
For Louis Boillot Crémant, Christmas sales to the UK were explosive, up 72% on December 2019, without including the introductory sales to Sainsbury’s, which stocked Louis Boillot ahead of its release this month. The success of crémant in December 2020 can be judged by contrast with other countries.
In countries where crémant is largely sold in the on-trade or in airport duty-free, sales were understandably low: down 2% in the US, 14% in Canada and 25% in France.
In the UK, where the on-trade is still largely focussed on Prosecco and Champagne, crémant relies on retail sales, where consumers might be looking for a sparkling wine between £10 to £15. While UK consumers are drinking at home, crémant is answering a need for affordable treats.