Wine Recession

While we’re all familiar with the worldwide financial recession, did you know we’ve also been experiencing a wine recession? Well, fear not, apparently the wine recession is set to end this year.

Back in 2008, consumption of wine peaked at a level of 25 litres per person – the equivalent of 1.61 billion bottles of wine! However, since that time, wine consumption has fallen by around 10.5% per capita.

Vinexpo and the International Wine and Spirits Record have now predicted that wine consumption will start to increase over the next five years. However, consumption is not set to reach the 2008 levels ‘in the foreseeable future’. Instead, a slow recovery over the next 5 years is expected.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of VINEXPO, says, “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over. While the UK market shed 9.6m cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.

It is noteworthy that the outstanding success since 2008 is sparkling wine. A large proportion of that success is down to Prosecco, which has seen a growth of 43% of UK imports. Between 2008 and 2018 UK drinkers are forecast to increase consumption of Prosecco to 2.2 litres per person, per annum.

So let’s raise a glass (of Prosecco) to the end of the wine recession!

Image is “Prosecco sparkling wine” by tracy ducasseFlickr: [1]. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Italian Sparkling Wine On Tap, Is It Prosecco?

Prosecco, the Italian cousin to France’s champagne, has quickly been gaining in popularity in the UK, but are you enjoying the real thing? Not if your prosecco is served on tap apparently.

Last year global sales of Prosecco overtook Champagne for the first time. In the UK, Prosecco achieved a 74.6% uplift in sales in the year to 20th July 2014 according to Kantar Worldpanel. There was similar staggering double-digit growth in 2013 with an increase in sales of £70 million.

Such is the staggering popularity of this sparkling gem that many eateries and pubs in the UK have started to sell it on tap. The advantage being a super sparkly glass of fizz without having to order a full bottle. However, according to EU Regulations, Prosecco must be produced in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area of north-east Italy (just as champagne must come from the Champagne region of France) and must be marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles. So if it arrives on tap, it is not Prosecco.

The trend of pubs selling Prosecco from barrels so alarmed Italian producers that they contacted the Food Standards Agency asking them to stop the sale of prosecco on tap. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that it is not an acceptable practice to sell prosecco in this way. As such, it is perfectly permissible to serve Italian sparkling wine on tap, but it cannot be called Prosecco.

So if you simply want a glass of Italian sparkling wine, by all means order from the tap, but if you want the real thing, buy a bottle!

Image is “Prosecco vineyards” by John W. Schulze is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Beer Sales Rise But Is Wine Now The Nation’s Favourite?

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has done a phenomenal job. Since the 1970s they have tirelessly campaigned for Real Ale, with a membership of well over 150,000 people making it the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK.

Unfortunately, their great work has not stemmed the flow of pub closures and declining sales. Since the start of the 1980s the number of pubs in the UK has declined by 29% and in the last fifteen years annual sales have dropped 23% according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

So it was with some justifiable cheer the BBPA reported last year that sales of beer had increased 1.3%, the first rise since 2006.

This positive news for beer is now being overshadowed by a survey conducted by YouGov and Populus. Of the 4,000 people surveyed around 60% declared wine to be their preferred alcoholic drink.

The FT quoted Matthew Jukes, an influential UK wine critic, as saying:

“This polling finally dispels the myth that wine is elitist. It is the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK, which makes the fact that it is so highly taxed a complete anomaly”

His comments reference the fact that for a £5 bottle of still wine, £2.88 (57.7%) of this is tax (duty and VAT). The last time duty on wine was reduced was 1984, when it was cut from £1.13 to 90.5 pence. In the 30 years since that cut duty has more than doubled to £2.05 (127% increase).

Perhaps this poll is not enough for the wine industry to claim they now produce the UK’s most popular alcoholic beverage. However, anyone believing that wine drinkers in the UK are generally middle class is probably now clinging to an outdated stereotype.

Get in touch and let us know whether or not you think wine is now The Nation’s favourite.

Image is “Red Wine and Bokeh” by Bas Leenders is licensed under CC BY 2.0

UK Wine Drinkers Increasingly Seeking A Quality Experience

Here at Charles Rose Wines we’ve talked before about avoiding cheap supermarket wine if you’d like to enjoy a good quality wine experience.

Well, according to the The UK Wine Market Landscape 2014, published by Wine Intelligence, 2014 sets new records both for consumers spending more on their wine, and for spending less.

The percentage of people willing to spend more than £8 a bottle to drink a home for a special occasion has increased to 40% in 2014, up from 29% in 2013.

In the same period, the percentage of people spending less than £4 a bottle has fallen to 9% in 2014, down from 14% in 2013. This is the first time that figure has fallen below 10% since Wine Intelligence started gathering this data in 2003.

Wine Intelligence reports that these spending trends are making two distinct wine markets in the UK; one for those seeking extreme discounts and another for those seeking a high quality experience. We know which market we fall into!

As far as we are concerned this is great news. Whatever you can afford to spend on wine, you are definitely better off buying a good product less often, and enjoying it, than buying a poor product more often.

Full story in Drinks International.

The image is “More Wine Racks” by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0