Wine Report 2007: Choice of the multiple specialists
It's a little-known fact that in the multiple specialists, France remains the biggest seller. The gap between France and Australia is actually widening, with Australia reportedly losing 18 per cent of its sales in off-licence chains and France down by a more modest 4 per cent, according to unofficial figures.
California, in third place, is also down by around 4 per cent - though it claims the first two positions in the multiple specialist brands chart.
Gallo rides high, despite a small downturn in sales, followed by Blossom Hill, itself adjusting to life without mega sales increases.
The big news in the category is the performance of Fiordaliso, the Italian brand which is doing such good business in the Thresher estate.
Italy is performing well in the multiple specialists, with unofficial figures pointing to a 9 per cent increase in sales. Pinot Grigio is driving the growth, but the reliance on entry-level wine means that volumes are growing more quickly than sales value, and average prices are falling. Italy, despite its enviable ability to offer wines at every price point, continues to track below the average price in all channels.
Australian brands continue to have a tough time in the sector. The biggest sellers - Hardys, Jacob's Creek, Wolf Blass and Lindemans - all registered a fall in sales.
The same was true of Rosemount, Penfolds, Oxford Landing and NXG, although McGuigan and Banrock Station fared well.
With Thresher accounting for such a big slice of the sector, and hence the data, the question can be asked: when Aussie wines are not being deep discounted, do they still hold the same appeal for consumers?
Thresher operates a three-for-two deal across all of its wines, which is the purest and most democratic type of promotion. It effectively puts every wine in the store on an equal footing and allows consumers to make a more personal choice, rather than being unduly swayed by BOGOFs and multibuys.
It has often been suggested that, off promotion, Australia's market share would be smaller. The evidence from multiple specialists would appear to bear this out - though Italy and California would happily settle for Australia's slice of the market, not to mention its average bottle price.
France's current cheerleader, JP Chenet, is currently under-trading in the multiple specialists due to a chronic shortage of listings. It may be knocking on the door of the off-trade's overall top 10, but it has to settle for 35th spot in this chart.
A slightly comical sales increase of 636 per cent will be impossible to replicate, but if the brand finds its way into more off-licences there seems no reason why it could not perform as well as it does in the wider market.
As it stands, the best selling French wine in the category is Louis Jadot, the second highest new entry in the chart. Georges Duboeuf is not far behind. A little further down, Louis Latour is another new entry from France.
Multiple specialists achieve higher prices per bottle than supermarkets or impulse retailers, at £4.74. But the sector's wine sales are down by 7 per cent year on year and clearly there is much work to be done if the yawning gap between off-licence chains and the supermarkets is not to widen still further.
* The Nielsen read of this sector includes some wines not recorded in last year's figures. This explains why some wines are shown as new entries despite a fall in their retail sales value in the sector.
|Top 50 wine brands in multiple specialists|
|Year to May 19 2007|
|Position||Brand||% sales change|
|2 (2)||Blossom Hill|
|5 (3)||Jacob's Creek|
|7 (5)||Wolf Blass|
|9 (14)||Villa Maria|
|10 (8)||Concha & Toro|
|11 (9)||Campo Viejo|
|16 (19)||First Cape|
|23 (37)||Echo Falls|
|24 (25)||Echo Falls|
|25 (24)||Banrock Station|
|Cuvée de Richard|
|29 (26)||La Châsse du Pape|
|Castillo de Liria|
|33 (33)||Black Tower|
|42 (23)||Santa Rita|
|43 (21)||Piat d'Or|
|Marqués de la Concordia|
|45 (28)||Oxford Landing|
|Viña Albali|| |