Blog: Olly WehringA night out with Constellation

Olly Wehring | 5 November 2008

I was back on the razzle last night – this time as a guest of Constellation Europe at 'A Big Night Out With Fifteen', a charity dinner to raise money for Jamie Oliver's Fifteen project. The Constellation link was the presence of Robert Mondavi wines for all 200 of us throughout the four-course culinary treat.

While at the shindig, I managed to grab five minutes with Constellation Europe's CEO, Troy Christensen. You may remember Christensen's candid comments last month about UK trade in the coming festive build-up. Well, last night he reiterated those concerns but sounded remarkably upbeat about the coming months in the UK. Interesting, seeing as Asda have just started pushing three bottles of wine for GBP10 on UK prime-time TV, while Morrisons are pushing three for GBP9.

What concerns me for Constellation is that the company is dead-set on no longer being a value chaser in the UK, looking to hold prices. It's clear, however, that if the company won't shift on price, there are plenty of others out there who will. And, with the UK consumer starting to turn every penny before he spends it, in which direction do you think that penny's going to go?

An aside, but at the GBP650-per-head dinner last night, a raffle was held to raise money for Fifteen. One of the prizes was to go 'Bowling with Lemar'. Fair reminded me of Alan Partridge's 'Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank' idea.

Any excuse for a Partridge link.


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