Nielsen insight: Provence points to a rosé future

Wine makes up just over a third of all off-trade alcohol sales, contributing more value than any other sector. In a fragmented category, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc have stood out in recent years and remain the fastest growing varieties in a declining category overall.

Among the next generation of potentially big wine segments, Provence rosé has nearly doubled in size over the past three years, growing by £22 million against two years ago, and now worth £49 million in annual sales. Volume sales are also up.

Provence is bringing new shoppers into wine while encouraging existing rosé drinkers to expand their repertoires, driving increased frequency of purchase. The region’s wines appeal to the more affluent, mature households that account for more than 80% of all wine spend in the off-trade.

Christmas is proving a popular period for Provence purchases, but it is an especially important style to have on-shelf as we enter the key summer trading months for rosé. Those stores that can satisfy the convenience mission by having chilled Provence rosé for on-the-go, summer purchases will benefit.

Also in growth are Bordeaux-style, Cabernet/Merlot blends. They are the fifth fastest-growing wine type by value, up £17.8 million annually to £50 million, and third-fastest in volume behind Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc. 

Like Provence, this blend is attracting a different type of shopper. Cabernet/Merlot is hugely popular among working class households aged 65 or over, which is different to a Cabernet Sauvignon varietal-buying household, with an average lower bottle price by 70p proving one important factor.  

There is a place in ranges for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet/Merlot blends, but education for shoppers could persuade them to trade up to the more expensive single varietal styles. Success for the blend could be, in part, due to a lack of shopper knowledge and a full understanding of what they are buying. Stores that stock both the blend and high-priced Cabernets need to ensure that there is sufficient information on shelf to help shoppers make an informed decision about what they are buying. 

Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and the other core varieties should all feature on off-trade shelves, but as the trade looks for ways to drive genuine growth in the wine category Provence and Cabernet/Merlot blends should also feature as they are showing promising signs in working to increase overall wine sales. 

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