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Voters could follow wine-drinkers' lead in EU referendum, says Majestic

Published:  16 May, 2016

Britons' growing taste for New World wines over the Old could be the key to unlocking how consumers will vote in the EU referendum this summer.

Majestic Wine plc believes that consumers have already staged their own mini-Brexit with their buying habits, which has shown a trend towards favouring wines from places lilke New Zealand over France and Spain.

Britons still drink over 354 million litres of EU-produced wine each year but over the past ten years, the number has noticeably diminished.

Since 2012, total wine imports into Britain from the EU have fallen by 14% and La Manche appears to have become a sea of discontent for British wine drinkers with the proportion of French wines consumed by Brits falling by 7% in 2015 alone.

John Colley, of Majestic's Managing Director, explained: "Whatever we think of the arguments for and against membership of the EU, there's a clear formula to picking a winner in wine: people follow their palates and pockets. In recent decades, the superb wines to flow out of the New World offering quality at a great price has seen our furthest friends seriously compete with our nearest neighbours."

Majestic has seen a 25% increase in purchases of New Zealand wines over the past five years, demonstrating that Brits' are preferring the wine from 12,000 miles away in New Zealand than 21 miles away in France.


However, France does still benefit from one of the most popular current trends in wine - Provence Rosé, which has seen large gains in recent years.

Sales of Provence Rosé are up 450% in the past 12 years - a figure that the New World has been struggling to match.

"Provence is the spiritual home of Rosé and, as the statistics show, it is the summer tipple of choice for many wine drinkers," said Richard Weaver, Majestic Wine's Buying Director. "More than two thirds of Majestic Wine's rosé range comes from France - the New World comparisons generally just can't compete."

Another string to Better Together camp's bow is Italian Prosecco, which has become the best-selling bubbles for Majestic's British customers with sales up 32% in the past year.

Colley added: "We don't expect European wines to give up. We have been drinking European wines in Britain since the 12th century and our classic French wines in particular are a firm favourite with our customers. They benefit from huge expertise as well as proximity, and fantastic vineyards to boot.

"Politically, the arguments may be complex but we know that when it comes to wine, the British public will ballot with their palate."