Argentina and New Zealand enjoy record breaking year of sales in the UK

Argentina and New Zealand were the two stand out performing countries in the UK in terms of wines sales growth in 2016, according to new figures from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

Its latest Market Report shows that UK drinkers bought over 20 million litres of Argentinian wine, almost 27 million bottles, in the 12 months to November 5, 2016, up 32%. It means the Argentinian wine category is now worth £155 million in the UK, up 31% year-on-year.

Meanwhile New Zealand sold a record 63 million bottles of wine last year in the UK, up 15%, even though it is the most expensive per average bottle than any other top ten country selling wine in the country. That breaks down as 56 million bottles in the off-trade and 7 million bottles in the on-trade.

What is even more impressive about Argentina and New Zealand’s performance is that it comes in a largely flat or declining market where most other countries in the top 10 saw their volume sales flat. Chile shared the Brits growing love of South American wines with also a trend breaking lift in sales.

The WSTA’s chief executive, Miles Beale, said of the figures: “It is great to see wines from New Zealand and Argentina doing so well in the UK. We know that large volumes of these sales are down to two particularly popular grapes. The clean and aromatic notes of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc have gone down a storm with British wine drinkers and it is also clear that the punchy spices in an Argentinian Malbec are proving a real hit too.”

The WSTA is keen to demonstrate to both UK consumers and the government how important the UK is to the global wine market and how the value of sterling in face of the fall out from the EU referendum vote is having what it says is “a serious and immediate impact on importers who have shouldered the burden of the fall of the pound until now, but this is not sustainable”.

It is calling for the government not to raise duty in this year’s Budget and to help the UK wine industry cope with a tougher market on the back of sterling’s decline. It warned: “Any increase in duty, on top of the post-Brexit sterling devaluation, would have dire consequences on Britain’s wine trade. It is not only consumers who will feel the impact of price rises, but also by more than a quarter of million employees in the world leading UK wine industry.”

It points out that the UK currently pays £4bn in wine duty, around £2.08 per bottle of still wine or £2.67 for a bottle of sparkling wine, which equates to 67% of all wine duties collected by EU member states.

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Neville Blech
 

Qualified as a chartered accountant in 1959 and became passionate about food and wine whilst working in Italy in the early sixties.

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