I was really intrigued by this graphic from high-end wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd. It shows the trends in their wine sales over the last year. Some are quite surprising; others perhaps less so.
The first point: it re-emphasizes that there is not just one wine market. Of course, to try to extrapolate these results and suggest they reflect trends across the whole world of wine is misguided. We are looking here at the fine wine niche. The rules here are quite different to commodity wine. Yet many wine commentators fail to make this distinction.
Look at the per bottle average price at bbr.com: it’s £51.60, up from £33 in 2008. Some people have money and are prepared to spend it on top wines. For many people, price is not a huge factor in their wine purchases.
Interestingly, Champagne dipped in 2010, but is bouncing back quite nicely.
English wine (and we are talking here largely about sparkling wine) is also showing impressive growth.
I’m puzzled by organic and biodynamic wine sales, and their decline. I would suspect that most customers of fine wine but wine according to its perceived quality, and not specifically because of how the grapes were grown. Perhaps these results reflect the fact that BBR have sold a lot of Bordeaux 2009 and 2010, and hardly any high-end Bordeaux is organic and biodynamic.
One of the most interesting results is the growth in sales of wines made from Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir sales have shown a massive 50% growth; Syrah an even bigger 56%. Chardonnay has shown an impressive 17% growth.
The bottle graphic of sales by country is clever. The height of the bottle seems to reflect the sales, but it’s actually the volume of the bottle (as far as I can tell). The height would have made the higher-selling nations look disproportionately large. I was impressed by how many bottles of wine from New Zealand and Portugal BBR have sold.
All in all, very interesting.