The brand’s performance was well ahead of the category itself, which grew 40% in impulse for the year to January 10, 2016.
Robin Copestick, managing director of Copestick Murray, said: “Retailers are incredibly impressed with how it performs; it hits all the right notes for consumers. The biggest challenge we have is keeping enough in stock.”
Despite i heart’s success, the growth of Prosecco sales nationally appears to have slowed, declining from 34% to 28%, but Copestick thinks it is soon to say that the category itself is running out of steam.
“The next three to six months will be crucial,” he said. “There was a genuine lack of Prosecco in August and September and when the new vintage came on stream, all the wineries had their order books full.
“That has continued into January, but prices are up again and if retailers pass those price rises on to consumers, then I think demand is likely to tail off.”
The whole i heart range grew 43% in impulse to enter the top ten wine brands in the sector, overtaking Lindemans, Barefoot and Kumala.
Overall, the still wines in the i heart range grew 30% in 2015, Copestick said.
The company’s premium Mionetto Prosecco brand also had an exceptional 2015 and is now the sixth largest Prosecco brand in impulse, with 99% growth year on year.
“We have very ambitious plans for Mionetto,” Copestick said. “It has grown tenfold in the two-and-a-half years we have looked after it. The winery itself has room for expansion, and when you have that with a premium brand it’s very exciting.”