Premium wine is up 21.5% by volume and 22% by value (Nielsen, year to June 23) and Pernod Ricard UK in particular has focused on pushing leading pre- mium ranges Jacob’s Creek, Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate.
But Accolade is taking on its rival with the plan to expand its core range.
Hardys is among the UK’s best-selling wine brands by volume but it is often heavily discounted. Accolade hopes the William Hardy range will drive greater value in the Hardys brand.
The William Hardy Chardonnay and Shiraz have gained listings in Tesco and will retail at around £8.99 – typically around £1 more than the company’s Stamp and Nottage Hill labels.
Paul Schaafsma, Accolade’s UK general manager, said: “People want to stay at home and have a treat and there has been strong growth at the £7-£9 price point. The comfort of trading up to a brand that people already know and that delivers is a strong proposition.
“The problem is stock. We sold out the first vintage of William Hardy in the first month-and-a-half, which is fantastic news, and we are very excited about the next release, to come in January.
“We are also looking at distribution across specialist retailers and we have had strong interest.”
A large-scale ad campaign is planned to push the range.
Bill Hardy, fifth-generation descendent of company founder Thomas Hardy, was in London to unveil the new wines which bear his name.
He said: “In the UK we are best known for our Stamp, Nottage Hill and varietal ranges.
“They are big-selling wines, but we want to introduce our customers to more premium wines, then bring them up through the range, offering complex, interesting wines at each price level.”
Once the William Hardy range is established, Accolade hopes to introduce Hardys’ HRB range to the UK.
HRB retails for the equivalent of £15- £20 in Australia, and Accolade may also bring the super-premium Hardys Oomoo range to UK specialists and increase distribution of its Eileen Hardy fine wines.
Hardy said: “We have wonderful distribution of the first few tiers of Hardy’s and there is a really big effort to make the upper tiers readily available.”