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The Rise of Premium Wines

How’s the top shelf of your wine range?

There is a subtle change occurring in the alcohol aisle – customers are selecting a better quality of wine. The phenomenon is, according to Mathew Clark the wine wholesaler, seen in both restaurants and gastro pubs, with the rise set to continue. In convenience stores too, we see a change. Premium wine, as a share of unit sales of total wine, has increased over the last 2 years. We looked at the rate of sale of wines sold in convenience stores with a price tag above £8.

Sales of red wine increased generally, like many categories, when we went into lockdown. Amid this, sales of premium red wine have increased, taking the share of total premium red wine units sold from around 7% up to around 11%. Premium red share of sales has risen over the last 2 years to a similar share seen in sparkling.

Red Wine % Share of Premium Sales
White Wine % Share of Premium Sales

White wine sales also increased in lockdown and premium labels also sold better – but since then, sale of premium white wines has shown a downward trend.

Premium labels in rose wine makes up a very small percentage of wine sales overall, but we still see a rise in the quantities sold.

Rose Wine % Share of Premium Sales
Sparkling Wine % Share of Premium Wines
We looked at sparkling wines with a price of £10 or higher. Sparkling wine is a favourite at Christmas and for New Year. Particularly last year, when our plans were curtailed at the last minute – which surely accounts for the curve in the convenience sector in particular. The sales of premium lines in Sparkling wine have remained pretty steady. Perhaps unaffected because this is already a drink purchased for celebration. Sparkling has the highest share of premium sales by type.

Despite current governmental assurances, we’re once again facing the uncertain possibility of a limited Christmas because of the covid pandemic. This will surely mean people stock up “just in case” they have to change their Christmas plans.

Retailers take note: customers are increasingly willing to try new flavours and pay for a better quality of wine. Stocking a choice that includes a premium option will surely be the way to appeal to your customers this Christmas.

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