Inter Rhône said its strategy was to consolidate its position and build on its Think Red Think Côtes du Rhône campaign.
According to Oriane Beloud, Inter Rhône’s UK export and marketing manager, the region has “moved away” from supplying the majority of its wines at entry-level price points and sells 14% of its volumes for under £4, compared with 58% five years ago. Conversely, she said sales between £4 and £5.50 now represented 52% of Rhône reds.
She said: “We want to increase our value, so leaving the entry level isn’t a big deal for us and we are quite happy with how things are going in terms of price points.” She added that wines from the Languedoc had stepped in to fill the gap at entry-level prices and increased share.
The body’s data showed that the Rhône continues to lead the French red AOC category with 38% share and, despite only accounting for 4% of total production, it is also now the top-selling French AOC for rosé wines with a 36.3% share of the market, compared with 22.6% for Provence.
Beloud added: “The Rhône rosés have taken a lead for French AOC rosé. It’s surprising because it’s not a natural leader [for rosé] compared to, say, Provence. But our rosé production has increased and we now produce more rosé than white.
“The Rhône is not only a reference point for red but also for rosé and I’m glad to see this has been reflected in the market.”
The main emphasis for this year’s activity will be support of retailer promotions, a new round of advertising and sponsorship of the rugby Double Header for the third year running.
Beloud said: “We don’t want to turn beer drinkers into Rhône drinkers. We are targeting frequent wine consumers.
“Our total UK budget for 2012 remains stable at about £1 million and we have fought internally to keep it the same, though the overall [global] Inter Rhône budget has decreased.”