Sparkling wine

01 November, 2012

“We have also seen the rosé trend developing on the international market,” stressed Jan Rock, press spokesman for the high-exporting Wiesbaden sparkling wine producer Henkell & Co. And this applies to both sparkling wine and champagne. Garrido can also confirm this trend in Chile.

With a market share of 77.6% (in terms of turnover) the German sparkling wine market may still be dominated by white sparkling wines. However, current IRI retail data from August 2012 points to sales increases for rosé of 7.5% and increases for sparkling red of 8.0%. The market share in turnover terms for sparkling rosé stands at 11.5% and for sparkling red wine at 3.0%.

Mild and Alcohol-Free Catch Up

Furthermore, an emerging global trend in sparkling wines is a move to milder flavours. “According to current GfK market research findings, it is possible to reach more consumers – especially younger target groups aged 19 to 25 – with milder-tasting sparkling wines. The ‘mild sparkling wine’ segment already accounts for 9.1% of Germany’s entire sparkling wine market,” says Momm from Freixenet. Looking beyond Germany’s borders to the US, increased demand is even developing there for Moscato. 

German producers are also launching milder-tasting sparkling wines onto the market. “The medium-dry and mild wines are gaining even more ground in Germany,” adds Barbara Hoffmann, Press Spokesperson for the sparkling wine producer Schloss Wachenheim (SSW). Furthermore, some producers have started successfully tapping into new target groups with flavoured sparkling wines or ready-to-drink variations of mixed drinks containing sparkling wine or indeed by advertising with new serving methods for their products. For instance, Schlumberger is advertising its ‘young’ Secco brands with the sparkling wine served over ice in a high-ball glass. And at Henkell, the inventor of the ‘Piccolo’ bottle, there is also an international trend for 0.2 l miniatures. 

Even if the market share of alcohol-free sparkling wine is still relatively small, as suppliers insist, major European producers are virtually unanimous about the growth prospects of this market. The reasons for this are varied. For instance, at Schloss Wachenheim they are also observing a trend towards lower-alcohol wines and sparkling wines on export markets. “The reasons for this lie both in the duty on alcohol in individual countries and in the trend towards a healthier lifestyle,” says Hoffmann. So far this year Henkell has posted two-digit sales growth for alcohol-free sparkling wine.

High Raw Material Costs dampen the Mood

Despite encouraging sales opportunities, sparkling wine producers cannot look to the future entirely without concern. They are all uneasy about increased raw material prices on the one hand and increasing competition on the other. “The current strains on wine supply could lead to further price adjustments in 2013,” says Hoffmann from SSW. Add to this growing price pressures in some countries.

One issue seen as particularly price-driven are the sales opportunities in German food retail – a topic that also preoccupies foreign producers wishing to consolidate or develop their position on the large German sparkling wine market. 

Branded sparkling wine producers like Henkell & Co. see excellent quality, design, brand communication and innovative offers as a way out of these downward-spiralling prices. “A tendency emerging on the sparkling wine and wine markets is the increased focus on origin and quality,” stresses Zacherl from Schlumberger. “As ever, there is an international trend towards higher-quality sparkling wines and this is also the case even in this unsteady economic climate,” adds Dr Momm from Freixenet.

The author Susanne Stauß was for several years editor-in-chief for several hotel management magazines. For some 10 years now she has been a freelance journalist focusing on the hotel trade, gastronomy and sparkling wine production.

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