But consumers’ growing appreciation of wine has brought new challenges for wine suppliers.
“Expectations have undoubtedly risen,” reckons Wine Importers’ Billy Bell. “The trend for food and wine media coverage means that consumers are more knowledgeable about wine and cosmopolitan in outlook, hence they demand greater quality – and not just in recession.
“The challenge we face is delivering quality at a reasonable price, which means an ongoing scrutiny of wine supply.”
At Hallgarten Druitt, Russell Buchanan said consumers’ growing interest in wine is leading some to explore specific wine-making regions and countries, as opposed to just grape varietal.
“We’re finding Spain is starting to take off – not just Rioja, but nice simple Spanish wines, probably because you can get some good value wines. It’s the same with Italy and even France is having a bit of a resurgence.”
Yet although people seem to know more about wine, Stephen Russell at Inverarity Morton said 70% of its sales still come from house wines.
“This statistic hasn’t changed for years, despite expanded consumer knowledge,” he told SLTN.