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France Summit to reveal latest off-trade and promotional performance of French wine

Published:  17 October, 2013

Leading figures from across the UK wine trade will be attending tomorrow's inaugural Harpers France Summit will get the chance to hear the latest off-trade sales figures for French wines in the UK and take a detailed look at how the major supermarkets are promoting the country in their stores.

Tim Wilson of the Wilson Drinks Report will reveal his latest research analysing how different French regions are performing in the UK. He will also look at average price points and what particular areas of the French off-trade are performing well and how the different regions are faring.

He will be joined in the day's opening session by Sam Sudlow of Brand View that analyses and tracks the retail prices and promotions of all major grocery brands in the UK. The company behind Sainsbury's Brand Match initiative, Brand View is able to plot and dissect line by line how individual brands and products are performing and what sort of promotional activity they are using to attract sales.

Sudlow will be revealing Brand View's assessment of the French wine market at the France Summit.

The opening session will also see a presentation by Anne  Burchett of Sopexa in the UK  on how France is performing overall against its competitors and help put the French wine category in context against the rest of the market.

The inaugural Harpers France Summit promises to be a day of specialist tastings, masterclasses  and two set piece trade debates. These will look at how different companies are sourcing wine from France with a discussion on what are the most efficient routes to market. This will be followed later in the day by a debate looking at how different operators are making the most of the French wine category and engaging with consumers.

There will be a chance for delegates to quiz Master Sommelier, Gerard Basset in a special wine clinic where he will be available to answer questions on how he sees the best way to design and source a French wine list.

Here are the details of the debates:

Debate one (11.05am-12.10pm): What is the best way to source wine from France?
Key speakers lined up for this first session include Phillipa Carr MW, Asda, Clive Donaldson, Morrisons; Rebecca Palmer, Corney & Barrow; Raul Diaz, Jascots Wine Merchants; Alistair Morrell, The Wine Fusion; Alex Canneti, Berkmann Wine Cellars; Nik Darlington, Red Squirrel Wine; Beverly Tabbron, Hallgarten Druitt; Matthew Dickinson, Dickinson Associates; Guy Adams, Heritage Wine as well as contributions from a number of our French wine partners, including Tim North of Les Grand Chais de France and Olivier Legrand of Inter Rhone.

Debate two (2.50pm-4pm): Is the UK making the most of its French wine offer?
The line-up of speakers includes: Hal Wilson, Cambridge Wine Merchants; Lucy Clements, Tesco; Waitrose; Direct Wines; Clive Donaldson, Morrisons; Master Sommeliers Gerard Basset, Hotel TerraVina, and Ronan Sayburn; Beverly Tabbron, Hallgarten Druitt; Richard Verney, DropWines; Mike Matthews, North & South Wines and a number of contributors from the morning debate. The panel debates will be held in an open forum and all delegates will be able to take part and share their views along with the guest speakers.

Masterclasses will include:

The day will also include a series of masterclasses presented by Master Sommliers Gerard Basset and Ronan Sayburn, and Oddbins wine buyer, Ana Sapungiu. These will be opens sessions on a first come basis. They include:

10.15am-11am: Hitting the sweet spot with France (between £7-£15), by Ronan Sayburn MS.

12.15pm-1pm: France: the wine road less travelled. Gerard Basset MS OBE will give a personal journey through French wine with his choice of more unusual wines.

2pm-2.45pm: Debunking the myth: delivering value from premium France, by Oddbins buyer, Ana Sapungiu.

4.15pm-5pm: Wine clinic: adding French style to a wine list with Gerard Basset MS OBE.

The day will feature wines and key figures from each of the France Summit partners, which include FranceAgriMer, Vins de Loire, Les Vins de Centre Loire, Chablis, Côtes du Rhône Wines, Les Grand Chais de France, Les Producteurs Plaimont, Provence Wines, Yvon Mau and Pays d'Oc IGP.

The France Summit will also include an awards ceremony, where the winners and finalists in Harpers' first French Wine Awards will be announced, with categories including Best Supermarket for French Wines, Best Independent, Best Restaurant, Best Critic, Best Supplier/Distributor and Best Ambassador.

There is still time to register or volunteer to take part in any of the trade debates. For more information email Joanne Gibson at

You can register for the summit by emailing