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When dealing with wine it is essential to understand your customers and their different drinking occasions.Given the literally thousands of wines...

When dealing with wine it is essential to understand your customers and their different drinking occasions.

Given the literally thousands of wines available of varying styles and quality it can be safely assumed that it is a broader drinks category than any other.

As a consequence the publicans that apply the basics of Category Management can expect to find a wine offering that will be very rewarding - and the basics are to know your customers and understand the different drinking occasions they enjoy.

In the first report on Category Management, a number of different occasions were identified and if each of those is re-visited it is clear that wine is an appropriate and profitable solution in every instance.

What is equally clear is that Stowells of Chelsea has the breadth of wine styles and range of dispense formats to cover all occasions perfectly.

A big night out / celebration

In a busy environment when consumers are enjoying the atmosphere and occasion it is important to offer speed of service for hard-pressed staff.

Here wine by the glass is the ideal solution, especially through draught dispense fonts. They offer easy-drinking wine in the most popular styles, fresh and in perfect condition every time, without the hassle of regularly changing over the dispense format.

The 10-litre box draught systems from Stowells of Chelsea also offers good visibility on the bar, at the point of sale, without taking up lots of space in a busy environment.

Another successful format for these occasions is the single-serve bottles that still offer freshness and quick dispense with the added benefit of a broader range of styles being available.

The attractive packaging of single-serve bottles also reassures consumers that they have bought a wine from a major brand.

Stowells has two sizes of single size bottles to be a "perfect pour" for both the 175ml and 250ml wine glasses. The 175ml size is unique to Stowells of Chelsea and offers the opportunity to sell wine at a price point that is attractive to the consumer and profitable to the publican.

It is also important on the "big night out" or celebratory occasions to offer wine in 175ml and the larger 250ml glasses for consumers who want the size of drink to match the mood and occasion.

It may also be sensible to include one or more sparkling wines if the outlet is regularly the venue for celebrations.

Sociable get-together

These are still reasonably lively occasions, often at weekends in busy venues, and are often are in a themed outlet.

Again, consumers will want to see major brands like Stowells, Penfolds, and Lindemans because of the reassurance they offer in terms of a quality and consistent product.

It is likely that on such occasions, consumers will seek out a slightly more sophisticated range of wines and be particularly keen to see New World wines well represented.

This brings to the fore the Stowells of Chelsea cabinets complimented by a few wines in 75cl bottles. The cabinets offer great visibility for a brand that has huge consumer appeal - Stowells is the UK's No.1 wine brand and growing very significantly.

Every glass from the cabinet is easy to dispense and will be fresh and in perfect condition, whichever wine from the extensive range is selected.

Meeting friends / a quiet drink

These occasions are very similar in the context of drinking wine. The mood tends to be more relaxed, typically the customers will be seated, in the outlet for a longer period and enjoying the conversation of friends.

This can typically mean that customers will make a more thoughtful purchase and the communication of the wine offering will have a major impact on whether they are happy with what is on offer.

From the extensive consumer research conducted by Grants of St James's Wines it is clear that on such occasions consumers are looking to see the major brands they know from the off-trade and the trend is for more New World wines and a growing proportion of red wine.

Again, the Stowells of Chelsea cabinets will accommodate consumers drinking different wine styles and a range 75cl bottles will cover those that are sharing a bottle of wine.

Wine with food

Food is an increasingly important feature in every type of outlet and wine is the classic drink to accompany a meal.

Eating occasions will also mean a high proportion of couples and small groups eating together and hence sharing a bottle of wine is perfect with food.

The simple principles apply again on these occasions - the sophistication of the wines needs to match the sophistication of the menu and the style of cuisine.

It is also important to offer wines across a range of price points and not assume that consumers will settle for "house wines" - popular branded wines are just as popular on eating occasions.

Many of the classic wines for food-matching are French and Italian and hence for the food occasion it is important to balance the selection of wines from both the Old and the New World.

If the menu is extensive there may also be the scope for sparkling and dessert wines, both offer incremental and profitable sales.

Wine in 75cl bottles is not the total solution for all food occasions. Wine by the glass is also an option to ensure you capture wine sales at lunchtime, or moderate drinkers, or people looking for different wines to match different foods.

Grants of St James's Wines​Simon Russell: 01275 890351Chris Hewin: 01275 890439

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