Wines from New Zealand and Argentina show the biggest sales growth in 2016

The British drinker’s love for a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has given Kiwi wine producers a corking Christmas present with sales growing across the board this year.


Australian wine is still proving to come out top of the tables when it comes to wine sold in our supermarkets, shops and off licences - but the growth rate of New Zealand and Argentinian wine is by far the most impressive in 2016.

Despite wine from New Zealand being, on average, more expensive per bottle than any other top ten country selling wine in UK stores, this has not slowed sales so far.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s end of year Market Report shows that in the 12 months, to November, over 63 million bottles of New Zealand wine was sold in the UK, up +15% on the same period last year.

This worked out as 56 million bottles in our shops, supermarkets and off licences and 7 million bottles in our pubs, bars and restaurants.

For the 7th consecutive quarter, New Zealand wine has sold more than 5 million litres or the equivalent of almost 7 million bottles in the on trade, showing our love affair with their top quality wine shows no sign of waning.

The impressive UK sales of New Zealand wine comes at a time when the majority of the top ten countries selling wine in the UK are showing a decline in volume sales.

This is partly down to Brits spending more on premium products and drinking less. Trends in government data show that the UK has been drinking ever more responsibly over the last ten years - with consumption dropping by a fifth. 

Joining New Zealand in bucking the trend of negative growth, in the off trade, are Argentina and Chile, both of which have seen a boost in sales compared to last year.

Experts say the rise in sales of Argentinian wine largely comes down to UK wine drinkers going mad for Malbec.

UK drinkers bought over 20 million litres of Argentinian wine, the equivalent of almost 27 million bottles, from stores in the 12 months to 5/11/16, up +32% on the same period last year. The value sales for Argentinian wine in our shops was worth £155 million in the 12 months to 5/11/16, up +31% on the same period last year.

In our restaurants, pubs and bars it was Italian wine which showed positive growth this year and is partly down to the popularity of Prosecco.


Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“It is great to see wines from New Zealand and Argentina doing so well in the UK.

We know that large volumes of these sales are down to two particularly popular grapes. The clean and aromatic notes of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc have gone down a storm with British wine drinkers and it is also clear that the punchy spices in an Argentinian Malbec are proving a real hit too.   

It is not well understood that the UK is the global hub of the international wine trade, a position we need to ensure we maintain.

The fall in the value of Sterling is having a serious and immediate impact on importers who have shouldered the burden of the fall of the pound until now, but this is not sustainable.

Any increase in duty, on top of the post-Brexit Sterling devaluation, would have dire consequences on Britain’s wine trade.

It is not only consumers who will feel the impact of price rises, but also by more than a quarter of million employees in the world leading UK wine industry.”


Brits currently pay a corking £4bn in wine duty in the UK, around £2.08 per bottle of still wine or £2.67 for a bottle of sparkling wine.

This means that for the average bottle on supermarket shelves around 55% of the cost is taken up in duty and VAT.

UK wine drinkers are being left severely out of pocket compared to consumers in the rest of Europe and pay 67% of all wine duties collected by EU member states.

The UK wine industry directly employs 170,000 people and further 100,000 through its supply chain and contributes £17.3bn in economic activity.

The UK being the 2nd largest trader by volume (behind Germany) and by value (behind USA), cementing its role as a key international player.

Wine has become the country’s favourite choice of alcoholic drink, with 71% of adults drinking wine, the equivalent of 39m people. It is the nation’s love of wine which is helping to drive more food, family friendly pubs and bars. 

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