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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Josie Butchart

Wine suppliers don't understand the UK buyer's agenda, claim respondents in a recent survey by Wine Intelligence. Buyers questioned by the marketing consultancy about their relationship with wine suppliers also criticised suppliers for regularly presenting incomprehensible pricing deals' and inappropriate' wines. The research revealed that buyers are increasingly time-poor' and are therefore less willing to consider new or unknown wines. Across every sector of the on- and off-trade, buyers expect their suppliers to offer the absolute lowest price up front' and cited promotional funding or discounts as essential ingredients in any deal. Multiple specialists want funding for multi-buys and BOGOFs, while restaurant buyers place a high importance on volume-related discounts, but all the buyers questioned named absolute lowest price' as their top priority. Humour is out, too. Only 6.8% of the buyers questioned would give a positive response to a quirky or humorous' front label design, preferring instead a traditional design or a modern-look label with minimal wording. The conservative stance extends to bottle shape, with 73% positive about the classic Bordeaux, Burgundy or Alsace bottle but only 29.3% approving a taller or tapered Bordeaux bottle, and 38% responding negatively to other bottle shapes. The one area where buyers are forward looking is closures, with multiple grocers, wholesalers and restaurant buyers preferring Stelvin screwcaps to natural cork. Pub and bar operators are more sceptical, preferring natural or synthetic cork closures because they believe the ritual of removing the cork is an important part of the wine sale.