The wine industry remains confident that cash-strapped consumers will continue to treat themselves to a bottle of wine despite rising utility and food bills.

New research commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association suggested shoppers were more likely to cut back on sweets, soft drinks and beer before wine.

"With household budgets feeling the squeeze it should be a source of comfort to the trade that many regular wine drinkers will pause for thought before they cut back on wine purchases," said WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles.

Delegates at this year's London International Wine Fair welcomed the news. Nick Blair, Pernod Ricard UK wine director, sales and marketing, said the research proved the industry was well placed to tackle tough times ahead.

"I think the industry will weather the storm as consumers are likely to keep buying wine as something they see as a special treat or an affordable luxury even as purse strings tighten," he told The Grocer. "Brands such as Jacob's Creek are well positioned as well-priced ranges that offer plenty of value for money."

Trusted brands would do well as consumers looked to take fewer risks with their cash, predicted Blair. "Consumers are going to become more selective as the level of quality they get for their money becomes ever-more important," he said.

Asda category director for BWS David Stewart said he believed own-label ranges would become more popular as shoppers became more prudent. "We've recently seen an increase in sales of own-label wines including a 200% year-on-year increase on Extra Special wines," he said.

The survey of 1,000 regular wine drinkers by Wine Intelligence also suggested drinkers believed wine prices hadn't risen as fast over the past six months as other categories, including bread, fish, poultry, meat and coffee.