On-trade alcohol specialist Matthew Clark has seen an uplift in sales of wines from cool climate regions such as Austria as consumers increasingly seek out lighter and fresher styles.
The UK’s leading drinks distributor reports that wines from regions and countries known for their cooler climates, including Austria, New Zealand, and Germany’s Mosel, have all seen double or triple digit growth. Wines from these regions, which are typically renowned for their quality, have helped fuel the growth of Matthew Clark’s premium Wines of Distinction range, which has seen sales rise by 5.5% year on year.
Matthew Clark attributes the move towards cool climate varietals to consumer drinking preferences shifting away from heavier styles and embracing elegant wines with refreshing acidity and lower alcohol; something which also aligns with a trend towards quality and more food-friendly wines. The firm has seen volume sales of Sauvignon Blanc go up by 12%, with Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir sales up by 278% and 22% respectively.
Matthew Clark has responded to the growing consumer demand for these lighter styles, with the introduction of wines such as Chateau Reynon Blanc from Bordeaux, and the range of Shannon wines from Elgin in South Africa.
A particular area of excitement is Austria, where Matthew Clark volume sales are up by 103% and sales of the country’s flagship variety, Grüner Veltliner are up 14%, fuelled by high-end producers Soellner and Willi Opitz.
The distributor is witnessing a similar thirst for premium German wine, with renowned producers such as Dr Loosen helping contribute towards a 61% surge in sales of Riesling from this region.
Simon Jerrome, purchasing director for wine at Matthew Clark, adds: “Our customers are increasingly demanding cool climate wines following a growth in consumer interest in these lighter styles. Consumers are now more wine savvy than ever and appreciate the craftsmanship involved in cultivating grapes in often challenging climates; realising also that these wines are often synonymous with ‘high quality’.”
With cool climate wines helping to fuel a buoyant Wines of Distinction portfolio, this growth has contributed to another successful year for the distributor. Since its acquisition by Conviviality PLC in October 2015, Matthew Clark has witnessed a 4.8% increase in revenue, and the business claims that it is delivering more annual revenue that the aggregate of its seven largest independent drinks wholesaling competitors. The last year has seen Matthew Clark deliver over 51 million bottles of wine; with still wine sales up 7.2% in the face of a market which has reduced in size over the same period.