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Majestic embraces growth as it unveils its summer wines

Specialist wine retailer Majestic has previewed a taste of its upcoming spring/summer wines while reflecting on what has changed in recent years.

Left to right: retail director Keith Blessley, CEO John Colley and commercial officer Rob Cooke.

Majestic will be providing an expanded number of wines from some of its staple brands. A Chardonnay from Romanian producer Incanta is expected in July, while a 2021 rosé from Sicilian producer Nero Oro, best known for its Nero d’Avola, was launched in April. Looking over the assembled bottles, the Summer stalwart of rosé figures strongly. As chief commercial officer Rob Cooke puts it, the pink drink is “refreshing and food friendly”.

There are tried and tested consumer favourites, from Champagne and Chardonnay to Pinot Grigio and Montepulciano. Slightly more left field options are also emerging, including a Hungarian Blaufränkisch, launching in July.

Despite reports of changing drinking habits from millennials, Cooke has not noticed a phenomenon of younger people choosing quality at the expense of quantity. “We’re not seeing people buying less wine, but certainly spending more per bottle. It started out as consumers would treat themselves to pricier wine for drinking at home, as the pandemic significantly restricted on trade sales.”

The company has also capitalised on consumers opting to stay in rather than go out by tapping into the popularity of subscriptions. The Wine Club, launched in August 2021, includes recipe ideas for what to cook to complement the selection of wines which come in the box. For the spring theme of “Discover Italy”, former chef de partie at The River Café, Abby Baker, has shared regional Italian recipes to complement the Italian wines featured.

When asked whether the events of the previous two years have caused a long-standing shift from consumers toward online sales, Cooke suggests that the order of things has recoiled back to how it was in 2019. “From our perspective, footfall is up as people are enjoying the freedom of in person experiences again. There are things you can do in the shop that you can’t do on a website, such as tasting the wines and asking for advice.”

“We’re in a growth phase at the moment, opening up new sites”, Cooke continues. Indeed, though 2021’s Christmas advert marked Majestic’s first television campaign for a decade, they recently followed it up with another ad over Easter this year. This renewed vigour can be viewed as part of the company’s efforts re-engage lost customers.

However, it has not all been plain sailing. In December last year, the company was forced to close its Calais sites as Brexit rigmarole and pandemic restrictions diminished sales. But, despite a tumultuous two years, the retailer’s outlook remains positive going forwards.

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