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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
18 Jul 2005

Very many thanks to all those who took part in the summer quiz I set last week on the recently published Off Licence News/AC Nielsen ranking of top-selling retail wine brands in the UK for the 12 months to 14 may 05. Here's the top ten with their global owner* and country of origin:

1. Hardys                  (Constellation)   Australia
2. Blossom Hill           (Diageo)           California
3. E&J Gallo               (Gallo)              California
4. Jacobs Creek         (Pernod Ricard) Australia
5. Kumala                  (Vincor)           South Africa
6. Stowells of Chelsea (Constellation) Various
7. Lindemans              (Foster's)         Australia
8. Banrock Station       (Constellation) Australia
9. Rosemount              (Foster's)        Australia
10.Wolf Blass               (Foster's)        Australia

The answers are in italics below:

1. How many of the top 10 selling wine brands are French?
Answer: None 

2. Which country does the wine brand in the top 20 with the biggest percentage sales increase over the previous 12 months come from?
Answer: France (J P Chenet in the lopsided bottle from Grands Chais de France) whose sales increased 397% when the nearest percentage increase over the same period in the top 20 was yet another Constellation brand, Echo Falls from California, with a 111% increase.

3. In which position is E&J Gallo? 
Answer: Third

4. How many of the top 10 wine brands are Australian? 
Answer: Six

5. I would like a subscription to purple pages because….(please complete)Answer: Because it would make my life complete (or something)

Only one contestant, David Roe of Sydney, got every answer to questions 1.-4. right, and even he gave the wrong answer to question 5: "I am a first year MW candidate and plan to pass both parts of the exam by 2007 at the latest." This impressively ambitious purple pager wins a sub to give to a friend as he is already a subscriber.

No-one got three of the answers to 1.-4. right but almost 20 of you got two of them right, usually but not always questions 1. and 4. On working out how close to the correct answers your incorrect answers were and carefully assessing your answers to question 5., I am delighted to say that free subscriptions also go to first-time purple pagers Susan Taylor of New Zealand and João Lizardo of Rio de Janeiro, both of whom said that they were looking for truly independent advice and opinion on the world of wine.  I hope they will enjoy their year's subscription to purple pages very much and I do my best not to disappoint them.

Thank you all very much for your answers, many of which were delightful to read. I'm especially grateful to Steve Dutton of Germany for his answer to question 5:

"I wonder if Jancis knows
my  interest in her purple prose
For as she can see
I've long read what's free
now I've answered the questions posed.

"Ah well, it's not easy writing limericks on a Monday during working hours. Even if I don't win, and my guesses are all shots in the dark, I think I have to spring for a subscription anyway. Your pages appear to be the most informed, measured, and civilised in the wine world. "

Full marks and a special discount to that man.

*Purple pagers, incidentally, can read more about the increasingly overweight global corporations which dominate the mass wine market in A guide to the world's biggest wine companies.