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South Africa

Sparkling wine continues to grow and we are obviously entering a key period for this. (We sell a quarter of our sparkling wine in the last two months of the year so it is important to get it right!) We have seen over the last year that Prosecco has plateaued whereas Champagne is up 8% and English Sparkling has increased by 60% volume and 100% value.

France is our largest country category and also one of our most buoyant. Growth here is driven by rosé (notably Provence and similar), Picpoul, Chablis and the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy regions. We have also seen a very impressive start for our new bio-dynamic and ‘sans sulphite’ wines launched in the summer.

South Africa is growing in premium sales as well, demonstrated by key lines such as Backsberg Chenin Blanc, De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay and Laibach’s range of organic wines. With our buying team visiting in September, we are looking forward to some new wines from this dynamic region in the coming months.

At the other end of the scale, we have seen very good increases in more niche areas. These include Portugal, Canada, Uruguay, Hungary, Czech Republic and even India. Most of these are of course from a small base but demonstrate a continuing thirst (no pun intended!) for discovering the unusual and quirky.

Sherry and in particular Amontillado style has seen a good uplift. Our Mira la Mar range in particular is performing well and now is the best possible time to get on the Sherry bandwagon!