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Price-savvy Brits look to eastern Europe as Majestic sales soar 400%

Published:  21 August, 2017

Eastern European wine sales are up 400% at Majestic as Brits look to avoid price hikes due to the impact of Brexit.

Currency fluctuations have seen wine prices increase but according to the wine retailer, savvy consumers have moved over to buying wines from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia since last June.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) reported last month that the average price of a bottle of wine bought in the UK had hit an all-time high of £5.55 due to duty increases and Brexit related currency fluctuations.

Portugal has also seen an increase in sales, with Porta 6 from Lisboa, Portugal beating off competition from Spain, France and the New World to become Majestic’s most popular red wine.

Majestic has introduced a range of new additions including a Romanian Pinot Grigio, which its buying director Richard Weaver described as “the best possible example at £5.99”.

“If you’d have told me ten years ago that Majestic’s best-selling red wine was Portuguese I’d have laughed you out of the building – but the economics post-2016 has changed people’s willingness to test their taste buds beyond our traditional markets,” said Weaver.

James Reed, buyer at Majestic, said that Eastern European wines have overcome negative perceptions.

“It’s the quality at different price points of these wines which has really impressed. They’re styles that are recognisable to the British public but very keenly priced for the level of expertise involved, ” said Reed.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Portuguese wines has seen specialist importer Portuguese Vinhos focus on the UK eating-out market.

Steve Schaffer, chef and hospitality industry veteran, who heads the business, said that consumers are looking for something different when dining out.

"Consumers have never been more interested in food and wine, and when they eat out they are increasingly looking for something different in a world of wine lists full of mediocre merlots, cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays,” he said.

“In contrast, Portuguese wines offer on-trade operators distinctive wines that match superbly with food."