Laithwaite’s ups fizz for festive offering

Laithwaite’s Wine has unveiled “a better range of Champagne than we have ever had” in the run-up to Christmas.

Abi Hirshfeld, head of buying, told OLN: “We sold more Champagne last Christmas than we have ever sold during the same period, and it’s probably the same story for Prosecco.”

The retailer has seen strong sales of its Fili NV Prosecco DOC, at £12.99 a bottle, which Hirshfeld says has “really fun packaging for a Prosecco”.

This success has encouraged the company to add a higher- end Prosecco in time for Christmas.

“Mionetto Cartizze NV Cartizze DOCG will be priced £19.99. It’s quite bold selling Prosecco at that price, but we are confident about it,” Hirshfeld said.

“Our sparkling ranges in general have been great. We have stocked other sparkling wines, such as Cremant de Limoux, for more than 20 years now and it’s still doing well. There is great value in the Cremant category.”

For this Christmas the retailer has the Roche Lacour 2014 Cremant de Limoux AOC, as well as a rosé variant, each priced at £11.19 a bottle.

“We also have a lovely sekt from Germany. We have high hopes for these this Christmas,” said Hirshfeld.

“We are also seeing strong sales of English sparkling wines, so we have more wines in our portfolio this year from English vineyards.

“We have Harrow & Hope Brut Rosé 2013, which is £28, and a selection of others, including wines from Barbara Laithwaite’s personal vineyard.”

She added: “We are huge believers in English sparkling and our customers love it. We will definitely be adding more over the next year in sparkling and English still wines.”

Hirshfeld said she has been impressed with the 2015 vintages, particularly from Europe.

“We are doing really well with wines from the Rhône this year and the 2015 vintage is great. The 2015 wines from Bordeaux, the south of France and the Loire have also been good. It has been a great vintage. South Africa also has some great wines from 2015.

“Equally, Portugal as a category has been doing really well for us, and so have some of the lesser-known areas of Spain, and wines from Australia’s Margaret River, which are really food-friendly.”

The company plans to improve its website “to make it more relevant”.

Developing the website has been an ongoing focus for the company over the past few months, and Laithwaite’s said online sales rose by 10% this summer following initial improvements to its online offering.

The company said changes to the website “made finding and ordering wines easier and quicker, especially on smartphones”.

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