UK sparkling wine sales to hit £2bn

There’s no sign of the bubble bursting over the UK’s love affair with sparkling wine and Champagne which, together, are set to break the £2 billion-mark there by this New Year.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s end-of-year Market Report reveals that 114 million litres of sparkling wine and Champagne, the equivalent of 12.7 million cases, have been sold in the UK so far this year. 

This compares to 99 million litres, or 11 million cases, during the same period in 2015.

The data from sales in shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars does not include December and some of November, but spend has already reached over £1.9 billlion.

Sparkling wine forms the Lion’s share of the bubbly which sold the equivalent of 2.6 million cases (24m bottles) in the off-trade in the 12 weeks (to 5th November), up 25% on the same period last year.

Champagne sold just short of a quarter of a million cases (or three million bottles) in the UK off-trade, up 7% in the 12-week period than in the same period last year.

This last quarter represents the best sparkling wine and Champagne sales figures posted all year in shops, supermarkets and off-licences there, reports the WSTA which adds that government data trends indicating that the UK has been drinking ever more responsibly over the last 10 years – with consumption dropping by a fifth – but sparkling wine has become the popular choice.

Pubs and bars are also helping boost sales with ‘Fizz Fridays’ and Prosecco promotions now a common feature.

In the on-trade sparkling wine sold the equivalent of over 1.3 million cases (16 million bottles) worth £768 million the 12 weeks to the 1st October, 37% up on the same period last year.

The sparkling wine category includes Prosecco, Cava and English sparkling wine, amongst others.

English wine makes up just 1% of the UK’s sparkling wine sales, however production is set to double to 10 million bottles per year by 2020 and by 2022 six vineyards alone are planning on producing more than one million bottles per annum.

Sparkling wine accounts for approximately two thirds of all English wine produced as the chalky soils and climate at vineyards in the south of England are similar to those found in the Champagne region. However UK Government continues to put the highest tax on sparkling wine points out the WSTA.

This year’s boost in sales of sparkling wine will give the UK Exchequer £714 million from VAT and duty.

Wine duty in the UK is equivalent to £2.08 per 75cl bottle of wine and £2.67 on a bottle of sparkling wine. This compares to 5p duty on a bottle of sparkling wine in France a no duty at all in Italy.

“There is no sign of the bubble bursting when it comes to the British drinkers’ love for fine fizz,” commented the Chief Executive of the UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association Miles Beale, “Wine is now the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink and continues to play an extremely vital role in our pubs, including as part of the broader British food and drink revolution.
“Fizz in particular, is now a mainstay of a successful pub, showing the increasing diversity of our industry and the modern consumer.
“It’s vital that government comes out in support of the wine trade which as a whole generates £17.3bn in economic activity.
“We would like to remind government that cutting excise duty boosts business and brings more money into the Treasury.”
Following the freeze in wine duty in the 2015 budget, wine duty income increased on the previous year by £139 million (up 3.6%) from April 2015 – March 2016 inclusive.


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