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Pandemic boosts Argentinian and rosé wine sales

Published:  17 May, 2021

Argentinian wine and rosé were two of the alcoholic beverages which saw a “remarkable uplift” in retail sales during lockdowns and restrictions in 2020, according to the latest WSTA Market Report. 

Sales of wine from Argentina in UK supermarkets and shops soared 41% in the 12 months to 26 December 2020 compared to the year before, according to the newly released report.

Moreover, Brits bought over 50 million bottles last year compared to five years ago in 2016 when just under seven million bottles of Argentinian wine were sold in the UK. 

In terms of wine, rosé however recorded the biggest uplift in sales compared to 2019, shooting up 22% in volume, with over 113 million bottles sold. This compares to just over 22 million bottles sold in 2016.

Yet, although rosé wine sales have seen a meteoric rise in the last five years, sales of red and white wine still remain considerably higher, with almost 508 million bottles of white wine and close to 434 million bottles of red sold in the off-trade last year.  

With the on-trade closed it appeared that people had been looking to “break up the mundane by exploring new tastes and tipples”, said Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA.

“This has clearly benefited Argentinian wine makers who had been steadily gaining more UK customers in recent years but made a massive leap in sales last year. 

Similarly rosé has been on the up in recent years but was given an extra boost in 2020 during the lockdowns and the warm weather. Interestingly the rosé trend continued during the winter months,” he said. 

Away from wine, the RTD category was also highlighted in the report as having seen a big off-trade sales increase during the pandemic.

In total Brits spent £412m on RTDs, including gin and tonics and cocktails in cans along with new products like hard seltzers, up 23% on the previous year. 

This is almost double the value of RTDs five years ago when the category was worth £234m.

“Last year consumer curiosity and convenience drove a real boom in the variety of mixed drinks cans on the market, with consumers trying out new drink experiences in smaller packaging,” said Beale. 

“With the hospitality sector once again being able to host people indoors it will be interesting to see if these new home drinking preferences creep into consumers drinking habits when we are back into our favourite pubs and restaurants,” he added.

On a more sober note, sales of both still wine and spirits in the on-trade were down 60% in volume terms on 2019, pre-pandemic levels, as the beleaguered sector continued to face lockdowns and strict restrictions throughout the year.