Sales of Champagne might be flat, but those of other fine and sparkling wines remain defiantly in growth - as do those of vodka and liqueurs.

In the wake of last month's news that the cider category had held up well over the summer despite the wet weather and the credit crunch, independent fine wine merchants have reported solid sales for £20-plus wines. Sparkling wines have done particularly well, jumping 11% in value, according to the latest Nielsen figures [52w/e 4 October].

"The buoyant sparkling wine category is one of our priorities at Pernod Ricard UK," said wine development director Adrian Atkinson. "We're undertaking research to help us and customers capitalise on the growth of this category ."

Spirits have also performed strongly. Smirnoff marketing manager at brand-owner Diageo, Chris Lock, put growth in the vodka category down to increased marketing spend. "Brands such as Absolut and Russian Standard, as well as Smirnoff, have invested in high-profile campaigns," he told The Grocer.

The trend for cocktails at home was also helping the category, as well as driving growth in the liqueur category, said Lock.

It isn't just established products that have enjoyed strong growth. Beam Global Spirits & Wine claims its Ardmore Traditional Cask whisky, launched in October 2007, has had an "exceptional 12 months", while German wine producer ZGM reports sales of its Palatium range, launched in March, have risen 219% due to a Tesco promotion.