Blog: Indian summer wine in the UK
Chris Mercer | 20 September 2011
Say what you like about the UK wine market, but how many other countries would slug back obscure wines from vineyard regions that they've never heard of?
This month, upmarket retailer Waitrose began selling Indian wine, believed to be the first multiple retailer to do so in the UK. By the end of last weekend, stocks were seriously depleted. Drinkers stampeded through the wine aisles, carrying off as much Zampa Syrah and Ritu Viogner as possible in expensive off-road vehicles, back to their suburban lairs.
Waitrose has conceded that it is surprised by shoppers' thirst for wine from a country more readily associated with curry and Cobra lager.
But, isn't this sense of adventure precisely what helps the UK to retain its 'pull factor' in the world of wine? On paper, there are good reasons to go elsewhere. Tax amounts to half the cost of a GBP5 bottle of wine in the UK, the national economy is goosed, the exchange rate is bonkers and overall consumption of wine is predicted to continue falling, at least for the near-term.
And yet, without wishing to hoist the Union Jack and direct a patriotic two-finger salute at this cocktail of woe, it does seem that producers around the world continue to be drawn to UK drinkers' gung-ho, try-anything-once attitude.
Of course, what really matters is how many people go back for more. Waitrose and Zamba producer UB Group would do well to keep a lid on things until the figures from repeat purchases are in. Adventurism is the cousin of frivolity.
The next problem is building enough scale to achieve some sort of profit; an issue that even the biggest wine sellers in the UK are grappling with.
Still, it's hard to do anything without open-minded consumers.
Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....
PepsiCo created a stir last week with the news it is testing a product called Caleb's Kola, with some in the media claiming it was the beginning of a new “craft soda” category....
SABMiller's bid to widen the appeal of beer is very much in evidence at its latest 'House of Peroni' - with beer cocktails and a bigger bottle for the Italian lager brand on offer. ...
Here's a round-up of the big stories on just-drinks last week, featuring PepsiCo, SABMiller, the Scotch whisky category and the US wine market....
- Diageo's future brighter than present suggests
- Diageo's Q1 Results by Region
- Analysis - Remy's Cognac "dead-cat bounce"
- SABMiller's troubles fuel M&A rumours
- Focus - Remy Cointreau's H1 Performance by Brand
- Moët Hennessy unveils first Travel Retail outlet
- Diageo puts Beckham centre stage in Haig Club ad
- United Spirits sees Q1 net loss
- Diageo Q1 sales dip "in line with expectations"
- TWE unveils Penfolds range after CEO's "bold move"