Accolade Wines tracks consumers ‘trading up’ to fine wines in travel retail

By Faye Bartle |

Accolade Wines Global Vintage Release Programme 2022.

The Accolade Wines team in Cannes.

Stakeholders can capitalise on an increased appetite for fine wines in travel retail as consumers continue their post-pandemic revenge spending and seek to ‘trade up’ when shopping in the channel, according to Accolade Wines.

“If you speak to spirit houses and other categories, they will tell you that the basket spend is up 30% versus 2019 due to revenge spending,” said Jeff Bond, Channel Sales Director EMEA at Accolade Wines.

The movement can also be attributed to consumers being more aware of different wine options from around the world, and being eager to discover them.

“Our next tier level wines – priced at around £25-30 and £35-40 – are doing really well in locations such as Dubai,” said Bond.

“When you are talking about £80-100 bottles, you need to know your wines before you part with your money – and people are more interested in New World wines now.

“They are au fait with what grape varieties they like and that, when you get above a certain price point, you get a completely different flavour.”

He takes Chardonnay as a case in point, with its popularity in the 80s making it known for a ‘buttery’ flavour profile, which can be very different to that of a fine wine of the grape variety.

“The Shiraz’s in our portfolio have completely different taste profiles, as they are from different parts of Australia,” he added.

“Similarly, our Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand don’t taste anything like a French Sauvignon Blanc.

“People are starting to be a lot more explorative.”

Rolling out vintage wines in the channel

Accolade Wines is spotlighting its Global Vintage Release Programme 2022, which is released annually under its fine wines portfolio and is now in its third year.

The collection comprises new wines from: the House of Arras in Tasmania; Barossa stalwarts Grant Burge and St. Hallett; Accolade’s founding winery Hardys in McLaren Vale; and Houghton in Western Australia.

Each brand is launching its wines to the market individually with Grant Burge, House of Arras and Hardys already available and St. Hallett and Houghton to come in November 2022 and March 2023 respectively.

“Our winemakers generally try to make wines that are accessible now so you can open them when released but you can also cellar them for 10-15 years,” said Bond.

“The flavour you get when they’re first released is just as good, but it changes over time in the bottle.”

Accolade Wines Global Vintage Release Programme 2022.

Members of the press were given an advance look a selection of Accolade Wines’ Global Vintage Release Programme 2022 during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes. 

The majority of Accolade’s Global Vintage Release Programme for travel retail is concentrated in Asia and Australia.

Domestically, the wines are sold in luxury stores, such as Harrods and Selfridges, as well as to personal collectors.

Bond revealed that the company is currently achieving around 90% of its 2021 sales globally.

“The market for fine wines has been tough, but in our part of the world we are looking at doubling our business versus 2021,” said Bond.

“In Asia, we are starting to gain traction in Singapore with wall bays at Changi Airport. We do very well with fine wines there so the destination is a focus for us in the Far East.

“Now that Australia and New Zealand are a lot more open, we are starting to see much more traction there,” he adds.

“Australian wines don’t really sell in France, Germany or many of the wine producing countries in Europe so we don’t concentrate our efforts there.

“We do work with UK airports and ferry operators. Plus, we have a really strong business in Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar.

“We have put a lot of effort behind tenders and have about three or four on the go at all times that are bolstering our business continuously.”

A look at the Global Vintage Release Programme 2022

Members of the press were given an advance look a selection of the Global Vintage Release Programme 2022 during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes.

Those available to taste included the House of Arras Vintage Rosé 2014.

Born from the House’s rich tapestry of vineyard sites across Tasmania, it is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay and is described as a sophisticated sparkling rosé style with a balance of red fruits and complexity from age.

Winemaker Ed Carr has taken a restrained approach, with the light, elegant expression being an extremely pale light pink colour with a pinky golden hue when held up to the light.

Accolade Wines Global Vintage Release Programme 2022.

From left to right: Arras Vintage Rosé 2014; Hardys Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2019; Grant Burge Meshach 2018; and St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2018.

Outside of this, there is a Brut Elite Cuvée 1701, a Grand Vintage 2014 and a Blanc de Blancs 2014.

From Houghton winery, which celebrates its 185th anniversary this year and is based in Margaret River (a small town south of Perth in western Australia), is the Houghton Jack Mann.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is a ‘full flavoured, rich and layered wine’ from the Frankland River region that reaches its peak drinking in 15-20 years and is best matched with rare roast beef or venison.

From Hardys is the Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2019, named after the Hardy family matriarch (the great grandmother of the family) and containing ‘only the very best handpicked parcels of fruit from regions throughout Australia’.

The latest vintage, from the McLaren Vale region, has flavours of concentrated blackberry, blueberry and plum.

While approachable upon release, it has ‘huge potential’ for cellaring (around 10-15 years tucked away is the recommendation).

The St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2018 showcases the ‘rare and ancient vines of the Barossa’. To qualify for the wine, vineyards must be planted on their own rootstock and be older than 40 years of age.

The ‘vibrant’ and ‘elegant’ wine has rich fruit notes of satsuma and damson plums with layers of dark chocolate, spicy cinnamon and cedar oak, and hints of black pepper and nutmeg.

Staying in the Barossa region, connoisseurs will appreciate the Grant Burge Meshach 2018, which takes the very best of the harvest from the region and will reach peak drinking in 2032.

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