UK tipplers hit “Peak Prosecco” as British vineyards soar in popularity, Naked Wines reports

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Unique findings from the Naked Wines 10 Year Anniversary data reveal Britain’s Top 10 most popular grapes and predicts the stars of the future.

The key findings from a store of digital wine data collected over 10 years from one of the country’s largest online community of wine drinkers reveals the UK has a surprisingly sophisticated and cosmopolitan palate, seeking innovation and constantly setting new trends in wine.

The top 10 wine highlights from 10 years of Naked Wines include:

  • A taste for Prosecco peaked in 2016 and has fallen 26% since then

  • Drinkers rate Sauvignon Blanc as their favourite grape followed by Tempranillo

  • The much maligned Chardonnay remains a top grape ranking third in the UK’s top 10 grapes

  • Fiano is the star grape to watch over the next 10 years enjoying a surge in interest

  • Within the past decade, backing for UK vineyards has risen exponentially and looks set to continue strong growth

  • France, Italy and South Africa are the top three most popular  regions

  • More recently wine from Greece, Hungary and Austria have made a dramatic comeback amongst the UK’s most sought after wines

  • UK Angels now invest in 129 independent winemakers around the world, up from 30 in 2008

  • Buying wine by iPhone has increased 316% since 2014

  • The most popular time of day to buy wine is 15:10 in the afternoon, an hour later than 2008

Naked Wines started business in December 2008 in the eye of the post crisis storm – a year when champagne sales crashed 23% – but has gone from strength-to-strength in the ensuing decade. Over that time its unique online business model has gathered an enormous database of wine trends from a loyal customer base worldwide, which now exceeds 400,000 wine drinkers.

The Naked model is unlike any other. Its customers, called Angels, subscribe monthly to an online platform where they order wine from Naked’s network of independent wine growers, enjoying discounts on their orders and the opportunity to get to know wine growers directly via the online network.

Angels review and rate their purchases online while their cash is also used by Naked to crowdfund investment in popular winemakers. Naked can track what Angels are backing, to create a pinpoint accurate picture of which grape varieties and regions are favoured by consumers’ palates and their investments. Naked then channels funding to top independent wine growers in these more popular categories.

Over the past decade Naked Angels in the UK have voted with their palates and their pounds. Their top 10 choices for drinking and supporting with their crowdfunding investments are:

Grape

Palate score

Pound score (£ millions)

Sauvignon blanc

1

11.3

Tempranillo

2

5.9

Chardonnay

3

5.3

Grenache

4

5

Shiraz

5

5

Cabernet Sauvignon

6

4.5

Pinot noir

7

4

Merlot

8

3.9

White blends

9

3.8

Red blends

10

3.6

Sauvignon Blanc now accounts for 25% of all UK Angels’ backing, but for all its dominance as Britain’s favourite grape, the much-maligned chardonnay refuses to lie down. Despite many self-confessed ABC-ers (Anything But Chardonnay), the grape is enjoying a renaissance, growing 145% since 2010.

Prosecco has started to see a decline in popularity among Naked’s Angels with a 26% drop since 2016 suggesting we have reached “Peak Prosecco”. This fits in with a wider UK trend which saw sales of sparkling wine in the UK rise by 5% in 2017, the smallest increase in six years, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. Naked have suggested an increase in the variety of Sparkling Wine available – including English fizz – could be to blame for Prosecco’s slump.

A star of the future will be wine made from the Fiano grape, a high quality varietal grown in southern Italy, particularly in the Campania region. Since 2010, Fiano has rocketed in popularity by 944%, according to Naked Angels data.

“It’s no surprise to see Sauvignon Blanc at the top of the list”, explains Eamon FitzGerald, MD at Naked UK. “Sauvignon along with Prosecco have done a great job of bringing people into wine and fizz, but what we’re seeing is a real interest in exploring other styles and grapes. We’re tipping Fiano and English Sparkling Wine as the big winners of the next 10 years.”

Naked can also track which wine growing regions UK Angels have backed with their monthly subscriptions over the past decade. The top 10 are:

Region

Palate score

Pound score

£ millions

France

1

16.8

Italy

2

9.8

South Africa

3

9

Spain

4

8.9

New Zealand

5

8.6

Australia

6

5.2

Argentina

7

4

Chile

8

3.5

Portugal

9

2.6

USA

10

1.6

French growers have a strong lead. But in recent years Angels have started to plough money into UK wine growers, channelling hundreds of thousands into UK vineyards, with huge percentage year-on-year increases expected to continue – reinforcing the growing trend for English wine among UK consumers.

Other regions enjoying a noticeable renaissance are from Eastern and Central Europe, specifically Greece, Hungary and Austria all areas which were relatively popular in the 1980s but which were barely on the radar in 2008.

Looking to the next decade, Naked is predicting palates will be even more diverse than they are in 2018.

“What we’re seeing from our customers is a willingness to embrace new regions and styles, rather than just being guided by price and labels. South Africa is completely over-delivering on value and narrative right now, and looking a bit further ahead, I’m expecting big things to come from Eastern Europe and southern Chile” adds FitzGerald.