I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded that the past year has been another challenging one for the trade in general and the wine category particularly, but there’s still no question that this is an exciting time for the category. As we approach the critical festive period and look ahead to 2024, it’s probably safe to assume that the year ahead will also have its challenges with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis affecting consumer spending and, of course, the challenges that every hospitality venue now faces following the overhaul of the alcohol duty system in August.

Despite all of this, wine remains a vibrant, exciting and opportunity-laden category. This is in no small part because we are seeing strong and positive indicators that the way consumers engage with wine is changing.

OUR VISION FOR WINE

Greene King and Belhaven have a centuries-old history of providing the finest quality beers to venues across the country – but we also have a long and venerable history of providing our customers with a carefully curated range of high-quality, great-value wines. We are perfectly placed to help you exploit the enormous sales and profit opportunity of the wine category.

1. Just for you

Our extensive list of wines has been specifically created by experts with the Free Trade in mind. The wines have been chosen to allow you to appeal to a broad cross-section of consumers.

2. Exclusives

Our range features many new and exclusive wines that can help set you apart from the competition.

3. At your service

We are also able to provide a number of important support services to help you maximise your wine sales. We offer, for example, a wine menu design and print service that helps you ensure your wine menus look great.

4. Guaranteed availability

We guarantee that the vast majority of the wines we list will be available for a full 12-month period, allowing you to build you wine list in confidence.

5. Great prices and promotions

With price as important as ever, we offer an extensive array of great pricing and promotions throughout the year to help you maximise sales

Despite total UK wine volumes reducing over the last five years, the regular wine-drinking population has actually increased. People regularly drink wine in the on-trade – they choose to drink in moderation. Encouragingly, we see that the higher-spending, more adventurous wine segment has grown, and these consumers are spending more on quality and premiumisation. This explains why market value at the premium end has remained stable post-Covid and also when compared with three years ago before the pandemic took hold. It also explains why the biggest falls in volume have come in the lowest price bands.

ENGAGED AUDIENCE

We see clearly that wine drinkers are more involved with the category than ever. They want to know more about the wines they are drinking, seek out new and exciting wines, and want wine to be a fundamental element of their experience when they visit a venue.

What we term ‘Generation Treaters’ are on the rise. This consumer segment is seeking out enhanced experiences – and they are prepared to pay a premium. Conversely, the number of bargain-driven consumers is on the decline. The key question, then, is how you take advantage of that trend. The first step is to build a wine list that delivers what this new generation of consumers is looking for. Just as importantly, however, it’s important to help satisfy those consumers keen to engage more deeply with wine. They seek information that helps enhance their drinking experiences and elevate them. That could be as simple as adding more details onto your wine menu. Or, you could train your team to offer advice and support to consumers looking for a richer experience from your venue. Ask yourself how you can help your customers make great choices.

DUTY CALLS

The recent increases in wine duty for most wines remain a key challenge, but to protect our customers from this cost, we have long been working closely with our winemakers to reduce alcohol in our entry-level wines in a way that does not impact wine taste and style.

Our passionate winemakers are using various cutting-edge methods to ensure that any changes to ABV will align with Greene King’s high standards.

NEW AND EXCLUSIVE

One really effective way of growing your wine sales is by building a wine list that will help add interest and excitement for your customers and set you apart from the competition. To help you do that, we have been busy sourcing new and exciting wines from some of the world’s leading up-and-coming producers. We have also secured an extensive range of exclusive wines, available only through Greene King and Belhaven, which you can use to build a unique wine list that will help bring customers to your venue and provide them with interesting and unusual wines that will elevate their experience.

A great example is the new Chapel Down Brut NV. With English wines continuing to perform well, this sparkling wine is a fantastic, high-quality, home-grown wine that you comfortably offer as a credible alternative to Champagne. With aromas of crisp red apple, citrus fruits and freshly baked bread alongside hints of strawberry and quince on the palate, it’s a fantastic wine that is well worth trying. Also available exclusively through Greene King and Belhaven is the elegant new South African red wine Doctor’s Orders. Delicate with ripe cherries and Turkish Delight on the palate, it’s a clean, fruit-driven wine that goes well with food, but it is also fantastic as a glass on its own.

The Yalumba brand from Australia already enjoys a strong following so the new Yalumba Organic Shiraz should find a ready audience, while the organic nature of the wine will appeal to a growing segment of customers keen to seek out organic wines. It’s a medium-bodied wine with aromas of fennel, blueberries and plums, “finished with a hint of black pepper and spice in the classic Australian Shiraz style.

For white wine lovers, why not try the new Seahills Sauvignon Blanc, another Australian wine that delivers a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc taste profile with tropical fruit flavours and a long-lasting fruit finish.

RANGE BY VENUE

While new and exclusive wines may appeal to most venues, it’s obviously vital to create your range with your specific consumer base in mind to ensure that your wine list meets the needs of all of your customers. With long experience and expertise across all venue types, we can help you build a list that will work for your specific venue. All you have to do is speak to your Greene King or Belhaven SDM and they will be more than happy to provide you with the support and advice you need.

Our annual Wine Brochure offers a wealth of advice and information to help you grow your wine sales, as well as a full list of every wine available from Greene King and Belhaven. With the wine category so full of opportunity at the moment, it’s the perfect time to take a fresh look at your offer and make sure you are making the most of this important category.

Our 2023/24 Wine  Guide is available now. This lists every wine that we offer and is a great place to start when looking to refresh and reinvigorate your wine range. We also offer free wine list service to all our customers. Speak to your Sales Rep to find out more.