Scots turn to the dark side

Double-digit growth for Merlot as nation’s wine trends unveiled

INCREASINGLY strong red wine sales are said to have led to the top end of Scotland’s on-trade outperforming the UK generally, according to a new report from Liberty Wines.

The company’s Premium On-trade Wine Report found that sales of wine in Scotland’s premium bars and restaurants outperformed the UK with value growth of 4%.

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The report, which was developed in partnership with CGA, used a number of measures, such as product range, main course cost, setting and customer profile, to establish the top 5% of on-trade outlets in the UK before analysing what trends are emerging at the premium end of the licensed trade.

Unique to Scotland’s top bars, the report claims, is the rising prominence of Merlot, which saw double digit growth in 2018 and is said to be “successfully becoming more premium and demonstrating further potential for growth”.

Unlike most other parts of the UK, growth in white wine sales in Scottish venues is not coming from French Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio from Italy but from Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which was up in both volume and value terms in 2018.

More generally, the report served to underline the importance of knowledgeable staff when it comes to encouraging customers to try different or more expensive wines, listing them as a key factor in influencing purchase decisions.

David Gleave, managing director of Liberty Wines, said: “The premium on-trade continues to sell high quality wines successfully in today’s challenging environment.

“Convincingly outperforming the market for years, the right combination of knowledgeable staff, well-designed wine lists and an eclectic range of wines has consistently encouraged consumers to drink better wine.”