We’ll stand by our wine, say shoppers

Wine drinkers facing a drop in spending power would rather ditch sweets and chocolate than cut down on the bottles, new research shows.

More than half of shoppers who buy wine at least once per month would cut down on other items first, including beer, a survey of 1,000 wine drinkers by Wine Intelligence has revealed.

The results, unveiled in co-ordination with the Wine & Spirit Trade Association at this week’s London International Wine Fair, offer hope to the industry as the UK economy hits a wall.

“It’s reassuring that wine is not going to get tipped out of the supermarket trolley first off,” said Brian Howard, business development director at Wine Intelligence.

Others at the seminar re-iterated the need to encourage consumers to trade up.

Adrian Atkinson, Pernod Ricard's wine development director, said the £7+ bracket was growing and urged a greater focus on brand-building. “We have not been able to capture a [previous] increase in disposable income like other categories.”

Matthew Dickinson, commercial director at Thierry’s merchant house, called on the industry to unite. “Unless we operate more collectively to get consumers to engage a bit more, we are going to be stuck not making the sort of margins we want to make.”

Wine writer Robert Joseph MW, also on the panel, said wine brands needed to become more aspirational for consumers. He said the UK had become a “cheapskate nation”.