British wine lovers look to Eastern Europe and Portugal as wine price rises

Alys Key
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Consumers are expanding the horizons of their tastebuds rather than their wallets (Source: Getty)

Sales of wine from Eastern European countries have quadrupled at the UK’s largest wine retailer since the Brexit vote.

Figures released yesterday by Majestic Wine show that British consumers are turning away from the traditional wine regions as the average price of a bottle reaches an all-time high of £5.55.

Read more: It's official: Wine tastes better when you think it's more expensive

Wines from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia flew off the shelves over the past year, up 400 per cent since last June.

Duty increases and currency pressures have caused the price of wine in the UK to rise over the past year. Majestic said this means British wine lovers are shopping around more and looking beyond France, Italy and Spain.

Read more: Londoners are driving the boom in English wine sales

Portuguese wine has also become more popular with a Lisboan variety now Majestic’s most popular red wine. “If you’d have told me 10 years ago that Majestic’s best-selling red wine was Portuguese I’d have laughed you out the building," commented Majestic’s buying director Richard Weaver. "But the economics post-2016 has changed people’s willingness to test their taste buds beyond our traditional markets.”

He added: “It’s the quality at different price points of these wines which has really impressed. They’re styles that are recognisable to the British public but very keenly priced for the level of expertise involved.”

​The lower-cost options from other countries could also help provide an alternative if concerns that the Lucifer heatwave will push up the price of wine come to pass.

Read more: Beer duty is threatening British pubs, say industry bodies

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