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Are We Trading Up When Choosing Wine?

Are we trading up when it comes to choosing wine? Sarah Westcott, writing for the Express, says ‘It’s a vintage year for posh wine sales’. Apparently the British public are treating themselves to better wines that cost more in spite of (or perhaps because of) tough economic times:

The fastest growing area of UK wine sales in the last year has been for bottles costing £7, £8 and £10-plus, according to retail analysts Nielsen.

Demand for £10 wines grew by nearly a quarter – 23 per cent – in the year to November 2012. But sales of £4 and £5 bottles fell by five per cent despite a squeeze on household incomes.

Tesco, which is now the UK’s largest wine retailer, has seen an even more pronounced move towards finer wines. Bottles at £15-plus have shown record growth of 49 per cent in the last month compared to the same period in 2011. It now stocks wines at £1,000 a bottle.”

The reasoning behind the shift is also partly due to a “foodie culture” among a new generation of Britons who are more confident, sophisticated and knowledgeable.

Tesco fine wines buyer manager Lindsey Chadwick is quoted as saying:

Many customers have been expressing an interest in a wider choice of fine wines.

“In spite of the tough economic times there seems to be a new ‘treat culture’ where shoppers are trading up, typically at the weekend, and rewarding themselves with a quality bottle of wine.

Spending £15-£20 on a bottle of wine in a restaurant is the norm. As more people are ‘dining out at home’ they are increasingly realising the excellent quality they can get when they spend a similar amount in a retailer.”

Interestingly French wine sales are also on the up – La Journée Vinicole is reporting that figures released by the French Wine & Spirits Exporters’ Federation (FEVS), reveal that a new all-time high was reached in 2012 on the back of a 10 percent increase in exports by value.

French wine sales rose by 8.5 percent across the board and 10 percent for still wines. FEVS chief Louis-Fabrice Latour, said that the figures revealed that growth is structured more around value (+10 percent) than volume (+1.6 percent) and that emerging markets are increasingly contributing to growth:

In 2012, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) accounted for €1.2 billion, equating to over 10 percent of total exports; when re-exports are taken in account, the figure rises to €1.5 billion. However, on the downside, French wines are constantly losing market share by volume: over the last decade, wine exports lost 10 percent in volume and grew by 30 percent in value, mainly due to Champagne and the top tier of Bordeaux wines”.

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