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Nick Mantella, Managing Director, Grupo Codorniu UK

Published:  07 July, 2011

For many the UK may appear a daunting prospect with other markets looking more attractive.  However, challenging as it appears today, it always has been competitive; there has never been an "easy" time!  We are, and always have been, a small fiercely competitive "island" market with everyone out to get a slice of the action and make a margin.  Competitors are all in the same boat, same economic circumstances, duty, taxation, exchange rates and customer potential.


Over the past 20 years we have seen the wine market double, most of the growth coming from the New World - making the wine market we have today.  Now the Old World is making a come back.  Nothing is constant nothing is stagnant.  The differences we choose are what and how we approach the market, how we operate our business models and how we implement our plans. The challenge is always to embrace the changes not fight them.


Consolidation and polarisation in the industry means you have the multiple grocers and specialists with ever increasing market share. Whilst on the other hand, the independent sector is growing from strength to strength as a result of both the demise of the multiple specialists and some great entrepreneurs. There are more on-trade wine opportunities and further developments in new channels with online e-commerce and direct marketing all offering an exciting range of quality wines and good consumer interaction which is key to drive quality.


Growing the market may be hard, but there are channels to do this, in others the battle ground becomes about taking market share, either way you know and face your challenges. We are lucky that in the UK we have a very savvy wine market. We can complain of downward spiraling price deals but we also have consumers who are well informed and interested.  Communication with a plethora of TV features, column inches, social media and consumer events dedicated to wine.  Some industries would die for the range of sources, styles, brands and suppliers that we have.  Our consumer demographic trends with an ageing, educated, well travelled population are far more likely to drink wine, regularly and be discerning about what they are drinking.


Often the best innovation and best business rewards come from problem solving solutions. The market remains exciting, if you want it to be. Enjoy it and go for it.