Sparkling wine and champagne sales to hit £2 billion by the end of the festive season

There is no sign of the bubble bursting over the Brits love for sparkling wine and champagne with combined sales in the UK set to break the £2bn mark by the New Year.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s end of year Market Report reveals that 114 million litres of sparkling wine and champagne, the equivalent of 152 million bottles, have been sold in the UK so far this year.

This compares to 99 million litres, or 132 million bottles, during the same period in 2015.

The data from sales in our shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars does not include December and some of November, but has already reached over £1.9bn.

The Lion’s share of the fizz flying off shelves is sparkling wine which in the off trade in twelve weeks (to 5/11/16) sold the equivalent of 24million bottles, +25% than the same period last year.

Champagne sold just short of 3 million bottles in the off trade, +7% more in the twelve weeks (to 5/11/16) than the same period last year.

This last quarter has seen the best sparkling wine and Champagne posted all year in our shops, supermarkets and off licences.

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 – but sparkling wine has become the popular choice.

Pubs and bars are also helping boost sales with ‘Fizz Fridays’ and Prosecco promotions now a common feature in British pubs.

Sparkling wine sold the equivalent of over 16 million bottles, worth £768 million, in the on trade in the 12 weeks (to 1/10/16) a whopping +37% on the same period last year.

The sparkling wine category includes Prosecco, Cava and English sparkling wine, amongst others.

English wine makes up just 1% of sparkling wine sales, however production is set to double to 10 million bottles per year by 2020 and by 2022 6 vineyards alone are planning on producing more than 1 million bottles per annum.

Approximately two thirds of all English wine produced is sparkling wine as the chalky soils and climate at vineyards in the south of England are similar to those found in the Champagne region. Yet the UK Government chooses to put the highest tax on sparkling wine.

The boost in sales of sparkling wine in 2016 will give Chancellor Philip Hammond a very happy Christmas with £714 million, from VAT and duty, coming his way.

Wine duty in the UK is the equivalent to £2.08 per 75cl bottle of wine, £2.67 on a bottle of sparkling wine.

This is compared to France where they pay the equivalent of 5p duty on a bottle of sparkling wine and in Italy where they pay no duty on a bottle.

The UK alcohol industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe, with the second highest duty rate for wine.


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

“There is no sign of the bubble bursting when it comes to the British drinkers’ love for fine fizz.

Wine is now the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink and continues to play an extremely vital role in our pubs, including as part of the broader British food and drink revolution.

Fizz in particular, is a now mainstay of a successful pub, showing the increasing diversity of our industry and the modern consumer.

It is vital that government comes out in support of the wine trade which as a whole generates £17.3bn in economic activity.

We would like to remind government that cutting excise duty boosts business and brings more money into the Treasury.

Following the freeze in wine duty in the 2015 budget, wine duty income increased on the previous year by £139m (+3.6%) from April 2015 – March 2016 inclusive.”


Notes to editors:

  • On Trade means sales in our bars, pubs and restaurants and Off Trade is sales in our shops, supermarkets and off licences.

  • Sparkling wine and Champagne sales combined hit £1.924m in the last quarter and if current trends continue we will pass the £2bn sales mark over the festive season.

  • The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry, representing over 300 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wine and spirits. The WSTA works with its members to promote responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

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