Wine, spirits and craft beer distributor Bibendum has reflected on what has happened in the UK on-trade market and predicted what the new year could bring.
1. Premium Languedoc and Roussillon
Roussillon and Languedoc are continuing their premiumisation, and top-quality wines are now winning coveted spots on wine lists.
According to Bibendum, more than two in five venues have these wines in the more expensive half of the list or at a price point above £40.
2. The rise of alternative Loire
There has been a shift towards more alternative Loire regions over the past year and there is now a striking absence of the major regions, in favour of Anjou and Saumur.
Of lists containing Loire, more than one quarter (29%) miss out the classic regions altogether with the trend towards alternatives set to stay.
3. Organic, biodynamic and natural
Almost 38% of wine lists include at least one organic biodynamic or natural wine. This is unprecedented growth from this time last year, when 10% of lists included these categories.
Orange wine (or skin contact wine) in particular is doing well this season and makes an appearance on 44% of lists.
4. Time for Cava
Bibendum business development manager Chris Harag said: “Moving up the quality ladder, drinkers are increasingly looking for alternatives to Prosecco.
“While Prosecco will remain key in the mainstream market, sommeliers are increasingly looking at top Cava.”
5. American Pinot
Pinot Noir from the USA can be found on almost one in four wine lists and this is growing. Oregon and Washington are also establishing traction in the UK market after more than 10 years of trying to push ahead.
6. No more ‘anything but Chardonnay’
Bibendum business development manager Paul Brown said the days of ‘anything but Chardonnay’ are now gone with the average on-trade list price of Chardonnay rising by 10% in the past year.
Brown added: “Opinions about Chardonnay are changing and this is largely due to wineries, especially in the New World, evolving their styles to be leaner, with minimal use of oak.
“Premium Chardonnay from Burgundy has always been around at fine-dining venues, but the category has suffered in pubs and casual dining.
“This is changing and we are seeing Chardonnay move back onto restaurants’ core lists, becoming one of the preferred wines again.”
7. English sparkling wine
Value and volume sales of English sparkling wine have almost doubled at Bibendum during the past year.
Data experts CGA also reported that value sales of sparkling wine from England and Wales rose by 63% year on year while volume sales increased by more than three quarters (77%).
Bibendum fine wine business development executive Joseph Arthur said: “There are clear signs of organic growth after years of hard work from producers at cellar door and in the trade.
“We now have customers asking for English wine, where previously it was all about getting the word out to them. This is a very significant change.”
8. Premium Malbec
Malbec sales have risen by 28% in value and 12% in volume over the past year making it one of the most popular red wines for entry, mid-level and by-the-glass offers.
Bibendum business channel director for premium groups James Stoddart outlined how venues are now including two Malbecs on their list – one at entry level and another more premium offer reaching more than £30.
He said: “Restaurants are looking at areas outside of Mendoza and paying attention to provenance and terroir.
“Equally, consumers are now willing to pay more for quality Malbec and quality Argentinians in general, buying into the food and lifestyle of this country.”