What impact has Covid had on wine sales across the hospitality sector?

Following recent exclusive research, below are CGA's 5 key insights aimed at helping suppliers and operators revive their sales.

1 New venues

Like all categories, wine has been hit by widespread venue closures. CGA’s Market Recovery Monitor shows Britain’s number of licensed premises fell by 7% between March 2020 and the end of 2021, accelerating the decline of wine outlets and sales. However, many closures have been followed by new openings, especially from small and dynamic restaurant, pub and bar groups, while it is estimated that 90% of leaders plan to open new venues in the next 12 months. Understanding the needs of these new locations and their users will help wine suppliers recover lost sales.

2 Hotels

While wine has struggled to return to pre-COVID-19 sales in restaurants, pubs and bars, hotels have been a welcome bright spot. The channel has benefited from the release of pent-up demand for travel, growing its category share by just over 2 percentage points. Hotels now account for around a quarter of all wine sales by value.

3 Relaxed occasions

Wine is still most likely to be chosen on food-led occasions. However, there is significant potential for growth via more casual drinking visits. A quarter (24%) of wine consumers now say they drink wine on relaxed or quiet drinks occasions—slightly more than the numbers for casual or formal meals. For suppliers seeking to expand wine repertoires, venues that cater for casual occasions should be key targets. Activations also need to be aimed at the 5pm-to-8pm period, when casual eating or quiet drinking occasions peak.

4 Sparkling wine

Demand for both celebratory and relaxed occasions has made it a good period for sparkling wine and Champagne has excelled with 82% growth. It is comfortably outpacing other sparkling wines for now, but as the cost-of-living crisis mounts, opportunities may well emerge for other sparkling wines at lower price points. This highlights the need for suppliers to target as broad a range of operators as possible, with accessible price points as well as high quality.

5 Rose

Still wines have suffered a sharp dip in sales in recent years, but White and Rose wines have increased their share of volumes by 1.4 and 1.5 percentage points—at the expense of Red, which has lost 2.9 percentage points. CGA’s report shows how Rose’s broad appeal across channels and drinking occasions opens up potential for substantial growth. Menu listings and quality of serve are two of the best ways to attract Rose drinkers, the research shows.

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