Brits lose taste for sparkling wine as sales fall

Oscar Williams-GrutSenior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Chapel Down sparkling wine is seen at Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden, Kent, Britain, October 5, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Chapel Down sparkling wine is seen at Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden, Kent, Britain, October 5, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Britain’s ‘prosecco boom’ could be over.

Sales of sparkling wine in the UK have fallen for the first time since 2012, according to new figures.

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New sales numbers from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, reported by the Financial Times, show sparkling wine sales in Britain fell by 5% in 2019. The drop is equivalent to around £100m being wiped off the market.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said the slowdown was due to a rise in wine taxes in February and declining rates of drinking among young people.

“Young people aren’t drinking as much and sales of still wine are generally down,” a spokesperson told the Guardian.

A study last year by University College London found that almost one third of young people now don’t drink at all. Those who do drink are drinking less than previous generations.

Within sparkling wine, premium champagne suffered the biggest drop in sales. High-end bubbly sales fell by 23% last year, according to the Wine and Spirt Trade Association.

Despite the slowdown, Britain’s sparkling wine market is still worth £1.5bn and 140m bottles of bubbly are sold here each year. Most of the market is made up of prosecco, which has surged in popularity as a champagne alternative over the last few years.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s figures only run up to September, meaning they don’t cover the crucial festive period when many households stock up on bubbles for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

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