Harpers Debate: Supermarket sales warp wine data

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Supermarket sales are overly skewing industry data on what wines are most popular, a wine broker has claimed.


Speaking at the Harpers Debate at the London International Wine Fair at ExCeL, London, Robin Copestick, founder of Copestick Murray, said supermarkets accounting for 81% of all wine sold in the UK, they are bound to have a massive statistical impact.


He believes this is making the industry think certain wines are popular when actually consumers are buying certain wines because it is convenient.


Copestick said: "Blossom Hill is big because it's in the supermarkets, if you put something else on the shelf customers would buy it. Would they walk out of your shop because you don't have Blossom Hill?


"Some of the data we duly respond to is a little bit self-generated; if you had this product on the shelf next to Blossom Hill would you buy that or Blossom Hill?"


Copestick added he is more impressed by data gathered through sales of his I Heart Wines brand thanks to its immediate connection with the consumer.


He said: "It's put an enormous amount of influence on the debate as (it is driven) by the real consumer and people who are actually buying the product."


Jamie Hutchinson, owner of the Sampler, said some of his best data is generated through tastings the independent merchant organises.


He said: "There was a quite expensive New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc we used to stock and three times in six months we put it up for tasting for a week. Every time sales plummeted and the sales of other ones would go up. The wine was more of a package brand than a value brand."


However, Copestick admitted supermarkets still have a place to play in driving wine sales in the UK.


He added: "The perception that supermarkets ruin something is completely wrong, they get people drinking and trying that product."


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