Last updated: 18.05.11

People are 'choosing quality wines'

People are heading to the stores and choosing better quality wines than they have in the past, it has been revealed.

Tony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaites Wine, said the impact of the economic downturn has meant that people are now looking for quality when they make a purchase and this has been especially apparent in the UK wine sector.

He commented: "Obviously some people are cutting back. Others, I get the impression, are doing quite the opposite - they're probably drinking a bit less, but are drinking better."

Mr Laithwaite added that many of the most popular wines have been demystified in recent years, with enthusiasts using these well-known varieties to get into more specialist wines.

According to research from Nielsen, sales of Italian wine rose by 12 per cent in the last year in the UK. It fund that the Pinot Grigio has now overtaken its French and American rivals and has become the most popular grape for wine drinkers in the UK.