Wines from cooler climes drive growth for Matthew Clark as consumers seek out “lighter, fresher” styles

Wines from regions and countries known for their cooler climates, including Austria, New Zealand, and Germany’s Mosel, have all generated double or triple-digit volume sales growth for the distributor in the year to 30 June 2016 [MAT], the wholesaler said this week.

Wines from these regions have also helped fuel the growth of Matthew Clark’s premium Wines of Distinction range, sales of which are up 5.5% over the same period.

The Bristol-based wholesaler says the move towards cool-climate wines to consumer drinking preferences shifting away from “heavier” styles and embracing lighter wines with more acidity and lower alcohol.

This also aligns with a trend towards quality and more food-friendly wines, the company said. Matthew Clark has seen a spike in demand for grape varieties traditionally grown in cooler regions, with volume sales of Sauvignon Blanc up 12% and Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir up 27% and 22%, respectively.

The company has responded to the growing consumer demand for lighter styles by introducing such wines as Shannon from the cooler-climate region of Elgin in South Africa. A real growth area is Austria, where volume sales are up 103% and sales of the country’s flagship variety, Grüner Veltliner, are up 14%.There has also been a 61% surge in sales of Rieslings from Germany.

In the New World, Matthew Clark has seen its sales across New Zealand grow by 13%, with cooler climate areas performing particularly well – Central Otago Pinot Noir saw growth of 196% over the last 12 months. Australia’s cooler regions are also in growth, with Tasmania seeing an uplift of 80%.

“Our customers are increasingly demanding cool-climate wines following a growth in consumer interest in these lighter styles,” Simon Jerrome, Matthew Clark’s wine purchasing director, said.

“Consumers are now more wine savvy than ever and appreciate the craftsmanship involved in cultivating grapes in often challenging climates; realising also that these wines are often synonymous with high quality.”

Since its acquisition by Conviviality last year, Matthew Clark has seen a 4.8% increase in revenue – in the last year it has delivered more than 51 million bottles of wine to its on-trade customers, with still wine sales up 7.2% despite an overall market decline (down 4%, according to analyst CGA) over the same period.

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