Wine prices hold for 10 years

The price of a bottle of wine has gone up just 85p in the past 10 years, according to Nielsen, with New World countries seeing increases as low as 6p.

Figures for the year to November 22, 2010, compared with the equivalent in 2000, found the average bottle of US wine has gone up just 6p. Australian wine prices grew just 20p, Chilean 31p and South African 45p.

UK duty alone has gone up from the equivalent of £1.16 a bottle to £1.69 in that time.

John McLaren of the California Wine Institute said: “In terms of keeping market share I’m sure it has helped, but in terms of profitability the danger is that some

wineries could turn their back on the market – not just California but everywhere else. We will see an even smaller representation of the world’s wines rather than a bigger one. That is the fear.”?Brand Phoenix director Steve Barton said: “It shows there is a big market in the UK but at a certain price.

“We have got a complete dichotomy in the trade – the reality of what the consumer likes to buy versus the internal wine trade debates about what they would like to be selling, and the reality is borne out in these results.”?He added: “Promotions and retailers get a lot of stick, but if Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s offerings weren’t popular the consumers wouldn’t shop there – the fact is they offer consumers what they want.”?New Zealand, which still has the most expensive average bottle in the top 10, only increased its price by 39p, or 7%.

But New Zealand Winegrowers head David Cox said the price had been as high as £6.53, and had only slipped in the past 18 months as oversupply let producers enter the deep-discounting arena. Small vintages in 2009 and 2010, and forecast for 2011, are expected to push prices up again.

Cox said: “What is difficult is the returns they are making in terms of the exchange rate, which is hurting producers substantially. And some of the pricing landscape isn’t helping – but it really isn’t putting them off.” European countries have seen much higher price increases, with France going up most – by £1.47 or 40%.

Noël Bougrier of Famille Bougrier – a former president of Anivit, the trade association for vins de pays and vins de table – said competition from the New World has forced French producers to offer the market much more than they did 10 years ago.

He said bottle prices now include budgets for promotions, marketing and advertising – and that the UK remains a key market for French producers.

“The UK market is very important, and French companies are making great efforts to become more and more competitive,” he said.