The market is now worth £15.4 billion, up 3% in the past year, while volumes also grew 1% to 33.5 million hl (Nielsen, year to July 19).
“Growth was driven predominantly by the persistent rise in sparkling wine, as well as a turnaround for Champagne and sustained growth in beer,” said Nielsen in the latest Wine and Spirits Trade Association quarterly report.
Still wine volumes are down 4% but sparkling has continued its meteoric rise, up 13% in the past year. For the first time in recent memory Champagne held volume sales while growing value sales 4% to £328 million.
Beer grew 2% in value and volume, while cider was up 3% in value and 5% in volume on the back of a hot summer.
Spirits saw a small volume drop but there are some star performers among that, with sales of vodka, gin and rum soaring.
Australia is still performing well at the top of the charts for wine, holding volume sales and growing value 2% to £1.1 billion.
Every other top 10 country is in decline apart from Argentina and South Africa. The rainbow nation rose 5% in volume and 7% in value to £521 million. It has leapfrogged Spain into fifth in the charts.
“This chart doesn’t go up and down very easily so to go up one place is a very strong performance,” said Jane Robertson category development manager at Accolade Wines, which leads the South African category with 16% of the UK market.
“In another year or two we could have overtaken USA [which is in fourth place].
“South Africa is up in every metric: 11% more shoppers, 12.7% increased basket spend, volume and value growth.”