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Old World Rules The New As Wine Drinkers Look To Higher Quality

Old World countries continue to dominate the UK’s wine market, but consumers are increasingly open to new sources and varietals—and they are potentially willing to spend more for higher quality.

Based on recent CGA on-trade data, the value of GB total wine and champagne sales remains in decline (-2.4% year on year), but value over indexes significantly against volume, which has dropped -7.4% year on year*—suggesting that spend is greater in relation to consumption.

Those are among the headline findings from the latest ‘Global Origins’ Wine Insight report from CGA, available now. It shows that wines from Old World countries have accounted for nearly two-thirds (63.4%) of volume sales in the last year, with France and Italy the two countries of origin most preferred by consumers.

But the report reveals important nuances in the market—including an increase in New World countries’ share of still wine sales in the last year, with New Zealand and Australia the most preferred countries of origin. It shows growth in sales of wines from countries including England, Hungary and Romania, and increasing interest in more premium, niche European varietals including Cortese and Albarino.

Mark Newton, senior wine category development manager at CGA, said: “For the majority of wine drinkers, the Old World still very much rules the New, and the continued popularity of Prosecco makes Italy the global leader in overall sales terms. But that dominance may not last, and all operators and suppliers should be aware of the subtle shifts in the market lately. Understanding changing preferences and drinking occasions is going to be crucial to success in a very competitive market.”

The new Wine Insight report also shows that while drinkers have decreased their consumption of wine in the last couple of years, there is greater interest in more expensive choices. CGA’s data indicates that in the managed sector sales of still wines priced at £35 a bottle and above have significantly increased their market share in the last few years—and more than half (52%) of wine consumers say they are willing to upgrade their choices when drinking out of home.

Mark Newton added: “The value end of the wine market is still hugely important, with one in four drinkers typically opting for the cheapest or second cheapest option on the list. But as consumers extend their knowledge of wine we see that more and more of them are willing to pay extra for it—so long as the quality is right. Educating drinkers about countries of origin and the differences between Old and New World could help to unlock extra spending.”

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