Supermarket wine trends 2018
Article date: 25 January 2018
Online buying keeps growing. But it’s not been plain sailing for supermarkets. Lidl hasn’t entered the market. Morrisons ended its wine venture a few years ago. Tesco and Waitrose both have dedicated wine-by-the-case sites, but you can also buy the sames wines as single bottles from their grocery websites. The advantage is there’s no minimum order (just a minimum basket size) and it’s easy to mix and match. This could be a factor behind Asda’s decision to close its direct wine-by-the-case website.
Rather than make wines with a sensible level of alcohol, the industry is looking at potentially a whole new market of low or zero alcohol drinkers. So wines will continue to be strong – over 12% – but new ranges or brands are springing up where alcohol has been removed or reduced.
It’s been sherry’s year for the last few years. So will it finally happen? Sales are up and look set to continue. My own sherry index – when the words ‘aunt’ or ‘granny’ are used in reviews – is down, but not down enough. When it reaches zero, sherry will be mainstream.
There are more and more offerings available in supermarkets and the quality is high. So is the price. Sales were up over Christmas. Majestic reported big increases for Nyetimber and Chapel Down. According to Majestic, Champagne sales are declining, Prosecco is not going anywhere, but there will be other kids on the block. The best value is to be found in Cava and Cremonts from Loire and Limoux.
One trend that maybe, just maybe, might take off is a new name for English sparkling wine. Mousse anglais anyone?
Expect to see forgotten or workhorse varieties find a new lease of life and expression in new locations or in new ways. Furmint, once the preserve of sweet wines from Hungary, is now being used to make beautiful dry white wines. Cinsault and Tannat, which have more often been used in harmony with other grapes, are finding their own voices.
Bigger is better
Sales of magnums, jeroboams and even nebuchadnezzars are on an upward trend. There are more and more recommendations. Large bottles are not just the preserve of the top end. Sales of magnums under £20 were up over 300% at Majestic. Aldi had a jeroboam of Prosecco for less than £40. Larger bottles should equate to better value, but they can also give better quality too as the wine has more room to develop.