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Published:  23 July, 2008

In April 2001, sales of designer drinks put on a new spurt, while those of still and sparkling wines fell for the second month running, by comparison with the same month a year ago. "There is no stopping the progress of designer drinks, but still wine is sluggish and sales of other products have been falling," said Quentin Rappoport, director of the Wine and Spirit Association, which has released the latest sales statistics. Although the growth rate of made wines below 5% ABV slowed steeply in February and March (Harpers, 27 July), sales soared to become 50.7% higher in April 2001 than in April 2000. Sales for the 12 months to the end of April 2001 were 47.4% up on the 12 months to the end of April 2000. Made wines 5.5-15% ABV were down 22.7% on the month, and 5.4% on the year. More worrying is the continuing reversal of the trend for still wines up to 15% ABV. Sales were down 7.2% on the month (745,400hl) and up only 3.9% on the year. The corresponding figures for still wines above 15% were -8.3% on the month and -0.8% on the year; and for sparkling wines -11.1% and -15.3% respectively.