Sparkling wines bounce back with sales up over festive period

Buyers trade down in quality to avoid doule excise duty

The sparkle seems to have returned to Irish Christmas and New Year celebrations with off licences and wine merchants reporting increases in the sales of sparkling wines by as much as 30 per cent compared with last year.

While corks were popping in greater numbers over Christmas than at any time since the bubble burst in 2007, people have not completely recovered from the economic hangover and tempered their spending by shopping around for cheaper sparkling wines.

The chairwoman of the National Off-Licence Association and owner of the Vintry in Rathgar in Dublin, Evelyn Jones, said members were reporting big increases in the sales of sparkling wines, but also “a trading down in quality” because of a “double taxation” on bottles with a wire closure.

Excise duty on sparkling wines which are closed with a wire hood is 100 per cent higher than the duty on still wines or sparkling wines which can be sealed without wire, so the VAT and duty on a €12 bottle with a wire closure is €9.14 compared with €5.95 if it can be closed with a cork alone.


Tom Deveney of Deveneys of Dundrum said people were feeling more optimistic about the future than at any time since the collapse five years ago.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast