Argentinian wine, rosé and RTDs help Brits to tide over lockdowns

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Consumers were experimenting with new tipples during the lockdowns and restrictions in 2020, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) latest market report has shown.

According to the report, which gathers alcohol sales data covering sales in supermarkets, shops and pubs, bars and restaurants, Argentinian wine, rosé and Ready to Drink (RTDs) were some of the alcoholic beverages which saw a remarkable uplift in retail sales during the pandemic.

In the 12 months to 26 December 2020 the sales of wine from Argentina in UK supermarkets and shops went up a staggering 41 per cent compared to the year before.

From just under 7 million bottles in 2016, the volume sales of Argentinian wine rose to 50 million bottles last year.

Wine proved to be a big hit with UK shoppers during 2020 with rosé seeing the biggest uplift in sales compared to 2019, shooting up 22 per cent in volume, with over 113 million bottles sold. This compares to just over 22 million bottles sold in 2016.

Sales of red and white wine still remain considerably higher, though. Last year almost 508 million bottles of white wine and close to 434 million bottles of red were sold in shops and supermarkets.

“The latest WSTA Market Report gives us a fascinating insight into what people have been drinking at home during the pandemic. With pubs closed and the opportunity for fun in short supply it appears that people have been looking to break up the mundane by exploring new tastes and tipples,” Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said.

“This has clearly benefited Argentinian wine makers who had been steadily gaining more UK customers in recent years but made a massive leap in sales last year. Similarly rosé has been on the up in recent years but was given an extra boost in 2020 during the lockdowns and the warm weather. Interestingly the rosé trend continued during the winter months.”

Another notable trend last year was a big increase in the number of RTDs sold in supermarkets and shops. Brits spent £412m on beverages from RTD category, up 23 per cent on the previous year. This is almost double the value of RTDs five years ago when the category was worth £234m.

“RTDs are another category which has been gaining ground at a rapid rate. Last year consumer curiosity and convenience drove a real boom in the variety of mixed drinks cans on the market, with consumers trying out new drink experiences in smaller packaging,” Beale added.

The report has also revealed the huge blow to the hospitality sector due to the restrictions, particularly when gearing up for the Christmas trading period, the busiest time of the year.

The figures from the report show that during 2020, sales of both still wine and spirits in the on-trade were down 60 per cent in volume terms on 2019.