French wine is picking up again at the premium end of the market, according to buyers.
In a sector that has seen growing domination from the New World, signs are emerging that more consumers are seeking out premium French wines at higher price points.
Somerfield’s wine buyer, Angela Mount, said that while the multiple was increasing its ranges of New World wines, its new fine wine concept was predominantly made up of French wines, including Burgundy at £15 and vintage Champagne. “The new fine wine section includes classic and quirky wines, many of which are French,” she said. Wine merchant Majestic Wines is also in the process of extending its fine wine section, again including many French varieties, mostly priced over £20.
“We will primarily be focusing on wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux,” said MD Tim How.
Tesco has also reported strong sales from its French wines this year, along with other Old World varieties. Mark Murphy, Tesco’s category director for beers, wines, spirits, said: “New World wines have been strong but we have also had a good year for French and Spanish wines. The emergence of the £5-plus category has been significant.”
Murphy added that rosé had also been booming in 2005, with strong sales of brands from the south of France, California and Portugal in particular.
A spokeswoman for French food and wine marketing agency Sopexa UK said French wine shouldn’t be regarded as a strong contender only at the higher price points. “French wine will always be a champion at the top end, but France does have something to offer at all the ends of the spectrum.”
Sonya Hook