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26 February 2013£1 wine? We’d rather have a beer!

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

It’s been a tough few years for smaller and independent wine chains. The likes of Oddbins have seen administration, and closure, while others have been forced to change strategy. However, Andy Shaw, head of buying at Bibendum, gives us news that this may be about to change somewhat indirectly.


The prediction, made by forecast figures from Vinexpo, that Briton’s will drink almost 4% less wine in 2016 versus 2012, sounds like a bad thing on the face of it. But, if we examine one of the larger contributing reasons to the forecasted decrease in sales, it appears that a decrease in the number of bottles available at sub £5 may be to blame. Now, we’re definitely not elitists at Ditton Wine Traders, but having a good understanding of the charges associated with a bottle of wine, allows us to believe that this is not necessarily a bad thing. In a £5 bottle of wine, at least £2.70 is the duty and VAT alone. We then have to take transport, storage, marketing & packaging costs in to account, before we are left with the actual value of the liquid. In reality, the value of the liquid in a £5 bottle is probably under £1. Personally, we’d rather have a beer.


This telling sign threatens the very wine “deals,” in the supermarkets that have made it so difficult for the honest wine merchants to make a living. If 4% of the market are no longer interested in wine because it is no longer seen as cheap, then this allows the smaller wine merchants to move in at what they’re good at, and the supermarket is not so good at.


Andy Shaw told Decanter earlier “there’d have to be a very good reason not to reduce the amount of space dedicated to beer, wine and spirits – shorter supermarket wine isles may boost “proper” wine shops with trained staff, selling more premium products on a more genuine value message.”


We’ve said in previous ramblings that we weren’t happy with many of the "deals" the super markets put out there, and we are hopeful that this is a sign of better wine for all, all round.


Just by increasing the amount you pay for a bottle of wine from £5 to around £6.50 – the value of the liquid inside the bottle will double, and chances are, so will your enjoyment!

We do have plenty of incredible value wines under £10/ bottle, that we are certain punch well above the likes of First Cape offered at £10/ bottle in many chains of Sainsbury’s, such as the highly rated l’Estang 2009 from Castillon, and the Decanter Trophy Winning Karantes Bergerie from La Clape at £9.28/ bottle, which represents one of the best values we found last year.


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