The View from the Other Side of the Pond

Carolyn O’Grady-Gold is Acting Vice President, Products, Sales and Merchandising, LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). We asked her what she sees as being the most important trends in wine sales in her territory.

Customers are really engaged with the local industry. Local VQA products and International Canadian Blend products, are both trending above the average for wines. On the imported side, customers are very engaged with wines from California, driven by the strength of key varietals: Cabernet and Chardonnay, as well as blends. New Zealand, with their focus on their signature style of premium Sauvignon Blanc, is also going from strength to strength. And the excellent value proposition that the Spanish wines offer resulted in sizeable gains made in the entire spectrum of offerings.

Sparkling wines continue to be a source of expansion. Champagne and Prosecco drive the majority of growth with cherished hero brands. Although sparklers are a firmly rooted occasion based beverage (New Years’ Eve, special occasions), the LCBO is driving de-seasonalised consumption patterns through the marketing of sparkling wines for every-day occasions.

Rosé wines have gained share over the past few years within our still wine portfolio. In addition to a large base of classic and approachable white Zinfandels, we are seeing growth in more subtle and sophisticated products, with a strong focus on France, Spain and Portugal and Ontario. We are also seeing growth in Moscato based rosé and sparkling rosé products of various levels of sweetness.

New containers and sizes are creating incremental occasions for the wine category. From bag in boxes, or single serve wine in a can, consumers are given greater exibility and choice of how, when and where to enjoy their beverages.

What are you primarily looking for at Vinexpo Bordeaux?

Vinexpo is an opportunity to do two key things: meet with our existing suppliers – to allow us to continue strengthening our trade relationships and grow our respective businesses, as well as investigate new opportunities – suppliers – trends – products, and innovations.

What are your secrets for getting the best out of a busy show like Vinexpo?

Plan ahead! Scheduling meetings in advance, researching diligently and being as prepared as possible allows us to maximize our time and get the most value out of our attendance. The Vinexpo website and the Vinexpo Daily are excellent resources for this.

What are your thoughts about the official magazine, “Vinexpo Daily”?

Vinexpo Daily is a great resource for attendees but also for those not attending and in the business. It’s a tool that we reference during the show to keep apprised of what’s happening at the show and in our industry.

Photo: Carolyn O’Grady-Gold – Acting Vice President, Products, Sales and Merchandising, LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario)