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Average French bottle of wine now sells for £6.20 says France Summit

Published:  30 October, 2013

The average bottle of French wine in the UK off-trade sold for £6.10 in the 12 weeks up to October 22 compared to the market average of £5.24, according to figures released at last week's inaugural Harpers France Summit in London.

Tim Wilson of the Wilson Drinks Report revealed latest statistics covering the UK on and off-trade sales for French wine as part of a session that looked at how well French wine is being promoted and communicated to UK consumers. Wilson also revealed that the average bottle of French wine is being sold for £5.92 for the year with value up 2%, volume down 4% for the year and up 2% in value and down 5% in volume for the 12 weeks up October 22.

The situation was more mixed in the on-trade, added Wilson. Whilst the average bottle of wine for the year was sellilng at £19.17 it was only £18.00 for the last 12 weeks due to a 2% fall in value during that period, against a 10% increase year-on-year, and a 14% increase in volume for the last 12 weeks against a 10% volume increase for the year. "Forty per cent of red wines found on a wine list are French red wines. Forty per cent of all white wines listed were French white wines and 74% of all sparkling wines listed are French wines," he added.

Wilson was part of a day that saw independent wine merchants, multiple retailers, sommeliers, distributors and drinks research consultants take a close look at how well the French wine category is performing both in the on and off- trade and how key players are engaging directly with consumers to sell more French wines

Multiple retailers are attempting to engage more with consumers to make French wines easier to understand, said Lucy Clements, Tesco's product development manager for wines. She said the retailer had two models for France. "We communicate with consumers through the Tesco Wine Fairs which and have had 3,000 people attend. The level of engagement has been huge across five cities and focuses on communicating on value. Secondly, we are everyone's wine shop and will be focusing on regionality with Vin de France, and arranging regionally better than before."

Success in the on-trade comes down to offering a choice and minimising risk for consumers, said Beverly Tabbron of Halligarten Duitt. She said: "The regionality of France is a point of difference for France.  We overestimate what people know about French wines. Offering wine flights and wines by the glass allows consumers to experiment." 

Independents merchants have also had success in pushing French wines to consumers. Hal Wilson, of Cambridge Wine Merchants, said: "Festival periods and hosting events on regions, like Sud de France, are wonderful. It's an easy sell for people. Also taking the public to these regiosn and estates is huge."

Tourism in French wine regions was identified as a huge missed opportunity that France may not be utilising to its fullest potential in the UK market to engage consumers, said Abi Hershfeld of Direct Wines. "Real loyalty comes through visits in the region."