And it seems the bar and restaurant operators who offer a selection of sparkling wine and Champagne options over the coming weeks stand to benefit.
Suppliers and producers contacted by SLTN last week said sales of fizz in bars and restaurants tend to spike during December – and this year is expected to be no different.
Damian Clarke, managing director at Freixenet, advised licensees to stock a range of sparkling wines to suit different tastes and budgets.
“Operators are recommended to offer at least a Cava, Prosecco, Champagne and sparkling rosé,” he said.“By offering different price ranges, styles and regions of origin, the customer is given a reason to test the wines.
“Sparkling wine is well-placed to deliver value during the festive season and Freixenet in particular is the perfect choice for consumers who want a quality brand they know and trust.
“Sparkling wine, at £22.45 per litre, significantly outperforms the average price per litre for beer, wine and spirits and wine category sales, adding more value to the category than other sub-sectors.
“The frequency of both planned and unplanned social events increases dramatically in the run up to Christmas and, more than ever, it is important for operators to stock a range of leading products across the beer, wine and spirits category.”
The advice was echoed by importer and distributor Continental Wine & Food, which suggested operators should work with their wine supplier to assess the outlet and its clientele, and receive “constructive guidance” on wine choices.
CWF’s Nick Tatham, master of wine, said suppliers have the latest information on consumer trends, which can help shape a wine list.
“Be objective in your brief and they should support you with recommendations for you to consider that can ensure your wine list hits all the right notes,” said Tatham.
“For example, if you have a particular by the glass or bottle sell price in mind together with a margin aspiration, calculate that back to the price you wish to pay per bottle. This will save a great deal of sourcing and selection time in the process.”
When it comes to trends, Tatham said he expects sparkling wines to be “very popular” this Christmas – one Italian variant in particular.
“Building on the success of recent months we anticipate that demand for Prosecco will be huge,” he said.
“It is partly a matter of price but the success of Prosecco is also due to the appeal of the wines.”
Prosecco’s popularity may be soaring, but it doesn’t appear to have hampered the appeal of Champagne, which is also expected to be a big seller this festive season.
Vicky Wood, head of marketing for Champagne at Pernod Ricard, whose brands include Perrier Jouet and GH Mumm, said the category represents a “major profit opportunity” for the trade over the coming weeks.
Pointing out that helpful bar staff and an eye-catching display are proven sales drivers, Wood said offering Champagne by the glass options and a “cleverly set out” wine list can also help operators maximise sales.
“Champagne moments can be impulsive, but Champagne is an obvious and simple choice if those impulses are stimulated,” she said.
“Devoting a special by the glass section, especially to Champagnes, sets them apart from other wines and automatically lends a sophisticated, stylish scene.
“There are times when only Champagne will do – and Christmas and New Year are classic examples.
“Christmas is a time for treats and indulgence and Champagne represents a major profit opportunity.”