Independents focus on France

France is the biggest focus area for independent wine merchants – with nearly half specialising in the country's wines, an OLN survey has revealed.

A poll of 200 specialist independent wine merchants, by OLN in conjunction with Wines of Chile, found that most named France among the areas they specialise in – although the number has dropped 2.4 per cent to 83 per cent since 2007.

That is well above second-placed Australia, which was an area of specialism for 72 per cent and the main focus for just 11.7 per cent of retailers in the poll – 46 per cent fewer than last year.

Just 2 per cent quoted the New World generally as their main focus. Chile was the main specialism of 4.8 per cent of those questioned, South Africa of 3.6 per cent, and Argentina, California and New Zealand of 1 per cent each.

“There is a lot of nervousness among the independents about doing too much business with the New World countries – they don’t want to be in the same arena as the multiples,” said OLN consulting editor Graham Holter, who presented the results at the Specialist Importers Trade Tastings this week.

Wines of Chile UK director Michael Cox said independents are missing an opportunity when it comes to wines from outside Europe.

“France does not have the monopoly on diversity and terroir, and the more we can do to open people’s eyes to that fact the better. Independents and restaurateurs have this opportunity to introduce people to a wider range of wines,” he said.

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