Marks & Sparks increases Australian range

Small sparks

Australian wine in the UK may be embroiled in metamorphosis, and as yet the outcome may be uncertain, but there are small sparks of hope.

High Street retailer Marks & Spencer has introduced a new range of four Australian wines. They include a Hunter Valley semillon from Tyrrell’s retailing at £13 ($23). Yalumba is on the shelf with a viognier at £10, and McLaren Vale-based Wirra Wirra is represented with a shiraz at £13.

They bring the Australian range at M&S to about 80. In recent times the company has relaxed its stance on own label wines, and now has a balanced mix of own label and brands. The prices are sound, with the cheapest being £5.50, but most offered at £7 and above.

American top end

The winemakers of California are pleased the American consumer is price-wise moving towards the top end. Nielsen figures showing wines retailing above US$10 ($13.50) are on the rise. This sector now accounts for 19 per cent of volume and 40 per cent of value.

Chardonnay is still the American favourite, with 20 per cent of total volume, followed by:

Cabernet sauvignon: 15 per cent
Red blends, including sweet reds: 12 per cent
Pinot grigio/gris: 9 per cent
Merlot: 7 per cent
Pinot noir: 6 per cent
White zinfandel/blush: 6 per cent
Moscato/muscat: 5 per cent
Sauvignon blanc: 5 per cent.

Californian wines account for 60 per cent of the US$60 billion (retail value) American wine market.

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