How is variety shaping market trends?

Grapes on vineWhile wine volumes are in decline (-4% year on year), consumers are drinking better, with a continued trend towards premiumisation. We’ve delved a little deeper to understand what’s really going on with wine and found three key positives that are likely to shape the direction wine lists take in 2017.

So how exactly is variety shaping wine trends?



The wine market has steadily premiumised over the past three years and in 2016 more than 1 in every 3 bottles sold in the On Trade was £15 or over… compared to just 1 in 5 two years ago. The demand for value wines is lessening, with absolute volume sales falling by 12% over that period. Even better news is that the rate of growth in absolute volume of wines above £20 is significantly higher (+82%) than the £15-20 price band, which has grown 15% in the same period. The £20-25 price band has been a strong area of growth in the past year, particularly for Argentina, Australia, Italy, South Africa and Spain.



Generic, entry-level blends are so last year. Their value is in decline and volumes are falling much faster than the total market. This decline in volume is hitting France and Italy the hardest, with consumers moving away from entry-level blends, opting for premium alternatives. Grape is the most important purchase cue for UK wine drinkers with more than 1 in 3 relying on it to choose which wine to buy. Steer clear of entry-level blends, except perhaps as a house wine to encourage consumers to rather try a high-quality example of their favourite grape varieties.


While the biggest selling grapes in the market by volume are still Pinot Grigio and Merlot, when it comes to sales growth these old staples are not the big winners. Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are losing out to Sauvignon Blanc, while Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are losing to Malbec, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir. 50% of UK consumers drink wine at least once a week, so it’s no wonder they look around for something new every once in a while. The chart shows the extent to which consumers are now discovering a more diverse range of varietals. This is particularly good news for France and Italy, with both producing an abundance of ‘weird and wonderful’ wines. Now is their time to shine with a focus on alternative, premium wines – like the Jean Biecher Pinot Blanc from Alsace or Terre del Principato Fiano di Avellino from Campania.


For more trends and predictions download our full Market Report here.

6th January 2017

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