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Cheap Cotes du Rhone edged out of UK market

UK sales of sub-£4 Rhône wines tumbled by 73% in 2009, according to new figures from Inter Rhone.

Currency fluctuation and duty increases were blamed for the fall, as Rhone wines under £4 become harder to find across the UK retail sector.

Olivier Legrand, marketing manager for regional body Inter Rhône, said that sales of entry-level wines had encountered ‘significant difficulties.’

‘The weak pound and the increase in alcohol taxes has limited the offer in this price category.’

At the same time, he added, wine drinkers have chosen to spend more on Rhone wines, rather than trade down to an alternative.

Wines costing more than £4 now account for 71% of Rhône sales, against 42% in 2007, with sales of wine above £10 up 35% on 2008.

Sales of cru wines, in particular, have doubled since 2004.

Overall, Rhône sales in the UK decreased by 13% in volume and by 5% in value in 2009, slightly outperforming French wines in general, which saw a fall of 16% in volume (8% in value) in the UK.

’Recent changes in the economy make it unlikely that there will be a significant increase in the volume of Rhône wines on the UK market over the next few years,’ Legrand added.

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Written by Amy Wislocki

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