Tim Palmer Major retailers are missing out on the opportunities of the wine style' drinks sector, says Matthew Clark. It defines the sector as a miscellaneous collection of products falling between wines, spirits, ciders and premium packaged spirits. But it says it's a category ill defined by the major retailers. Head of marketing Paul Silk described the products as packaged, consumed and perceived as wine by consumers, but lower in alcohol than normal wines. The sector includes perry, low and non alcoholic wines, British wine, coolers, premixed drinks and wine and fruit mixes. The market is led by Halewood's perry based Lambrini. Matthew Clark owns the rest of the top five; Babycham (perry), Country Manor (perry), Rougemont (British wine) and Arbor Mist (a Californian wine/fruit mix). Silk said when ACNielsen measured the category's performance in multiple grocers for the year to mid-June it was worth £77m, with sales of four million nine litre cases. Of this, perry accounted for 58% of the volume. The top 10 brands took 60% of the value. Silk said: "This is a very fast moving market and the multiples' range review processes slows their reaction times down. "They need a fast-track test bed to highlight the opportunities. The on-trade moves much faster and is more prepared to try limited tests." But he admitted the lack of focus in the sector is not just down to the retailers. "Suppliers have not helped the trade manage the category. There has been no direction with merchandising guides and no consumer research." This has led to confusion and the retailers now have different names for the sector. Tesco calls the sector Light and Fruity', to Asda it is Party' while the Co-op defines the category as Affordables'. But Silk said one major retailer which he would not name had defined the category well and was reaping the benefits with annual volume sales growing at 20%. He is now putting forward a basic planogram. "We think we can persuade retailers to change shelf layouts and devote the right amount of space to the products." {{DRINKS }}