glass of Prosecco champagne

Sainsbury’s has defended itself amid criticism over ‘Prosecco-gate’ – which saw the supermarket withdraw a promotional offer on the Italian sparkling wine after stocks ran almost dry due to high demand.

Customers who had ordered online, but were yet to receive their cut-price Taste the Difference bottles at 7.50 each, were sent an email informing them they would be charged the full £10 per item. They were given the difference in price as an e-voucher redeemable only in Sainsbury’s.

Disgruntled shoppers expressed their frustration on social media, with some even going as far as writing to the retailer’s CEO, Mike Coupe.

However, a spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s defended the supermarket’s decision to cut the promotion short.

“Our Prosecco offer has been extremely popular and, as with all offers, was subject to availability,” she said. “We understand that some customers may be disappointed, so, as a gesture of goodwill, have offered them e-vouchers.”

She added disappointed customers had been given “a few different options” following the end of the offer, including the opportunity to cancel or amend their orders – and she refuted reports the mult had been forced to axe the discount deal after astute shoppers stacked promotions – including 25% off for six or more bottles – to pay just £2.63 per SKU.

Prosecco has seen a huge rise in popularity among British drinkers, who bought 39 million litres in the past year, spending £365.7m on the Italian wine [IRI 52 w/e 30 January 2016]. But supply is finite, IRI’s head of beer, wines & spirits, Toby Magill, recently told The Grocer. “Demand is growing everywhere in the world, so there’s a limit on what retailers can get their hands on,” he added.