R etailers who examine this year's Wine Report league table are probably going to ask: what consumer downturn? Wine sales generally are up 5% in the off-trade to £4.7 billion, according to the Nielsen data for the year to June 14, and 38 of the top 50 brands are in growth.
than many had dared
hope for, but it does n't take into account some troubling four-week figures
from Nielsen this spring, some of which have shown
volumes down as much as 5% and a drop in value sales by as much as 2%.
There are disappointments, too, for a number of established brand-owners. Despite Constellation's sterling work in reviving Kumala, the South African brand has the dubious honour of being the only top 10 player to register a decline. JP Chenet - which seemed destined for a top 10 slot on the strength of last year's barnstorming performance -
slipped , ending European hopes of gatecrashing the New World party for leading brands.
There are five Constellation brands in the top 10, with Hardys once again leading the way . This year
its nearest challenger is Blossom Hill, which has kept its momentum going with new packaging and the Limited Release dual varietals.
There are no new entries in
the top 10, though that will certainly change next year if Concha y Toro maintains its spectacular growth. Helped by increased listings and the
support of critics, the Chilean flagship could overtake
Banrock Station and Kumala . Stablemate Isla Negra is also motoring nicely, just behind First Cape and Namaqua.
These two South African brands put in the stand-out performances
this year , and it's no surprise
both pride themselves on value for money below £5. As consumers
watch their spending, wines that appeal to shoppers on a budget clearly have a commercial advantage. As some observers have already pointed out, this is not a great year to choose for persuading consumers to trade up.
Foster's EMEA will be pleased with the workmanlike performance of Wolf Blass, even if it remains a good £50 million away from Jacob's Creek, the Australian rival within closest range. It can also reflect with some satisfaction on the results it is now achieving with Rosemount, a brand that required emergency surgery not so long ago. But Lindemans' performance has been a little lacklustre, and Penfolds now seems content to occupy the lower reaches of the top 50.
New Zealand continues to resonate with consumers, so it's no surprise to see market leader Oyster Bay bounding ahead with a 32% sales increase. Villa Maria and Nobilo are also benefiting from the Kiwi boom, which makes the 6% decline for Montana - partly spurred by a price increase - all the more alarming. Pernod Ricard
has some questions to ask
about why such a
brand is underperforming .
Although the New World dominates the top 50,
there are more French and Italian brands than in last year's chart, and just as many representatives from Spain, Portugal and Germany .
So who's missing? It's goodbye to McWilliams from Gallo, Luis Felipe Edwards from D&D Wines, Chileno from PLB, Faustino from Cellar Trends and Calvet from Guy Anderson Wines. And there is no new entry for Yellow Tail, despite the Australian giant's recent UK advances.
Top 50 wine brands in the UK off-trade
Brand Supplier Origin Change
Year to June 14 2008 (Position in OLN Wine Report 2007 in brackets)
Hardys Constellation Australia 8
Blossom Hill Percy Fox US 9
Gallo Gallo US 3
Jacob's Creek Pernod Ricard Australia 6
Stowells Constellation Various 10
Wolf Blass Foster's EMEA Australia 14
Lindemans Foster's EMEA Australia 2
Echo Falls Constellation US 27
Kumala Constellation South Africa -6
Banrock Station Constellation Australia 4
Concha y Toro Concha y Toro Chile 54
JP Chenet Les Grand Chais France -1
First Cape Brand Phoenix South Africa 52
Namaqua Raisin Social South Africa 51
Isla Negra Concha y Toro Chile 50
Oyster Bay Delegat's New Zealand 32
Rosemount Foster's EMEA Australia 7
Montana Pernod Ricard New Zealand -6
Campo Viejo Pernod Ricard Spain 16
Oxford Landing Negociants Australia 19
La Gioiosa D&D Wines Italy 17
Canti D&D Wines Italy 42
Piat d'Or Percy Fox France -15
Calloway Crossing McGuigan Simeon Australia 1
Black Tower Reh Kendermann Germany 15
Fiordaliso Enotria Italy -12
McGuigan McGuigan Simeon Australia 77
Berberana United Wineries Spain 54
Torres JE Fells Spain 12
Arniston Bay Company of Wine People South Africa 3
Turner Road Constellation US -25
Villa Maria Hatch Mansfield New Zealand 11
Rivercrest Gallo US -20
Nobilo Constellation New Zealand 2
Villade Moreschi Sainsbury's exclusive Italy 38
Mateus First Drinks Portugal -2
French Connection Bottle Green France 4
Blason de Bourgogne HwCg France 8
Brown Brothers Brown Brothers Australia 3
Rawnsley Estate McGuigan Simeon Australia 12
Ogio Tesco exclusive Italy 185
Paul Masson Constellation US -28
Viña Maipo Concha y Toro Chile 6
La Châsse du Pape Guy Anderson Wines France -15
Castillo de San Lorenzo Bibendum Spain 92
Penfolds Foster's EMEA Australia 0
San Pedro Les Grand Chais Chile 5
Caves St Pierre Thierry's France 63
Louis Jadot Hatch Mansfield France 7
Hall & Bramley