Premium wine sales boom in high-end establishments, finds report

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Wine sales are on the up in premium restaurants, wine bars, hotels and gastropubs
Wine sales are on the up in premium restaurants, wine bars, hotels and gastropubs

Related tags: Cent, Chardonnay

A surge in sales of higher quality wines in premium restaurants, wine bars, hotels and gastropubs is bucking the overall decline in on-trade wine sales, a report from Liberty Wines has found.

According to the Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report, in conjunction with CGA Strategy, value sales of higher quality wines were up by 10.5 per cent in premium outlets for the year to July 2014. This compared to a 9.3 per cent sales drop for overall on-trade wine sales.

The report, based on sales data and a survey of 500 managers, found that gastropubs experienced the strongest growth in wine sales, up by 47 per cent in volume.

French and Italian wines continued to dominate in the premium on-trade sector, with good growth by value and volume – although New Zealand wines were the fastest growing in value terms.

The report also found that sparkling wine sales increased by 45 per cent in premium on-trade outlets, with Champagne and Prosecco leading the way.

White verses red

White wine still dominated by volume in the premium on-trade, with 55 per cent of the market share compared to 36 per cent for red.

Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc led white wine sales. However, Chardonnay continued to fight back, increasing by 11 per cent in volume with even greater increases in restaurant sales.

As the third biggest white wine variety, Chardonnay now accounts for 20 per cent of the premium white wine market.

Red wine is showing good growth in value terms, and is just 3 per cent behind white at 44 per cent. Merlot has fared particularly well, up by 18.3 per cent.

Volume sales of rosé, meanwhile, were up by 30 per cent across the premium on-trade wine market.

The report claimed that rosé, which now accounts for one in 10 bottles of premium wine sold in gastropubs and restaurants, has now become a year-round wine.

Ones to watch

More than half of the London on-trade managers surveyed picked out Fiano, a vibrant dry white from the south of Italy, as the ‘one to watch’ wine for 2015.

Other wines on the radar this year include Viognier, which grew by 21 per cent in value sales last year; Pinot Noir, which grew by 75 per cent in volume in gastropubs; and Sangiovese, which was up by 29 per cent in value sales.

David Gleave MW, managing director of Liberty Wines, said: “It’s an exciting time for Britain’s premium on-trade wine market, which has never been stronger.

“Although consumers tend to stick to styles and varieties they know and trust we are increasingly seeing them trade-up to wines further down the list.

“Our job is to continue to entice people to try new styles and varieties from across the globe.”

Top five wine varieties – British premium on-trade 2014 (based on volume)

  1. Pinot Grigio
  2. Sauvignon Blanc
  3. Merlot
  4. Chardonnay
  5. Tempranillo

Top five wine-producing countries – British premium on-trade 2014 (based on volume)

  1. France
  2. Italy
  3. Australia
  4. Spain
  5. Chile

In a separate development, volume sales of Rioja grew by 10.3 per cent in the UK in 2014. According to the Control Board, the UK currently accounts for 34.2 per cent of Rioja sales abroad.

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