Blue Nun, the fruity German white that was the wine of choice in the 1960s and 1970s, is back near the top.

The latest sales figures for the fruit-driven blend show that nearly 5m bottles were sold in the UK last year, an all-time high and far outstripping its popularity during its glory days.

During the 1980s, when Blue Nun was heavily criticised as being too sweet and bland, it sold as few as 800,000 bottles a year.

Comparing the 75-year-old German brand’s recovery to that of 1970s staples such as the VW Beetle and Brylcreem, UK distributors Ehrmanns attribute Blue Nun’s steady rise over the last five years to its 1997 relaunch, which introduced a new, dryer taste and distinctive blue bottle.

Although Blue Nun is one of the UK’s top 20 best-selling wines, it still trails Australian brands such as Jacob’s Creek, which sells around 30 million bottles per annum.

Ehrmanns marketing director Keith Lay believes the recovery is ‘down to a combination of factors. Recently there’s been more investment in advertising and for two years now we’ve been investing in sampling. Even though the wine changed quite a while ago, it takes a while to get that across and to get people to re-try it.’

He adds: ‘If you look at the NOP wine survey, Blue Nun has by far the highest recall, but it also has a certain stigma attached to it.’

The Blue Nun range has also been expanded to include new varietals and non-German wines. A Riesling and a Merlot have been launched in the last two years, being joined in June by Blue Nun Slinky, ‘a crisp, sparkling, white wine-crush’, aimed at 18-30-year-old women in bars and clubs.

Written by Charles Williams30 April 2003