Hardys has outdone its nearest rivals. Grocery’s biggest wine brand has added £4m as the posher Barefoot, Yellow Tail, McGuigan and Casillero have all slipped.
The number one’s success is “the output of quite a long-term strategy” involving significant range rationalisation, says Tom Smith, marketing director at owner Accolade Wines. “We had to clean up the portfolio and make sure we had really structured tiers for a hierarchy that offers reassurance and safety at different price points.”
With unit sales up 0.4%, Hardys is one of just 12 still wine brands in both value and volume growth, in the aftermath of Brits returning to pubs and restaurants.
Still, the table wine market is up £423m on the value reported in 2019’s Top Products.
No wonder Concha y Toro category & insights controller Alex Price is pragmatic. He waves off the 9% value slump as “a return to normal trading conditions” after the disruption of the pandemic.
Besides, the market is beginning to show recovery, insists Kevin Chinn, Yellow Tail marketing director. As such, the brand is “continuing to invest to drive awareness, consideration and conversion”. He highlights its Jammy Rose Roo variant, which has made more than £1m since launch in April.
Other brands haven’t been so fortunate. Brancott Estate, for instance, has lost almost half its value, which owner Pernod Ricard puts down to one of the winemaker’s “smallest harvests in many years, after poor weather during the flowering season”. This affected yields and “our available supply of sauvignon blanc was lower than planned”.
Similarly troubled is Accolade’s Kumala, down 21.6%. Smith attributes its £8.9m slump to a “struggling” South African category, to which retailers are giving less space.
At least average prices are up just 1.8% – so still wine suppliers aren’t too worried yet about shoppers trading down or out.
Price is a problem for champagne, though, down 13.6% in volume. Sparkling wine has fallen more slowly thanks to the likes of Friexenet and Kylie Minogue – both cheaper alternatives to champers.
Top Launch 2022
Wise Wolf | Accolade Wine
Packed in the kind of beautiful bottle you’d expect to see in the premium spirits fixture, Accolade’s Wise Wolf – a Banrock Estate spin-off that bears little resemblance to its mother brand – stands out on shelf. It also has eco cred, being made from 100% post-consumer recycled glass, while its lid is also 100% recycled. The posh range comprises Chardonnay, Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon (rsp: £11/750ml). It’s an example of great creativity in a category often lacking bold innovation.
The Grocer Top Products Survey 2022: How can brands stay in focus?
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Alcohol – wine 2022: Hardys bucks slump in still wine sales