I've been reporting on the Prosecco shortage on my blog for a while now - the sparkling wine's popularity has meant retailers have struggled to keep up with demand.This appears to be the case with Sainsbury's, who this week withdrew a summer offer on the drink due to high demand.

The retailer sent an email message to customers on Tuesday night, stating the discount offered on bottles of the cheaper alternative to Champagne they had ordered online would no longer count. Customers who had already ordered the bottles of the sparkling wine at £7.50 were charged £10 instead, but given the difference in price as a voucher. Some fans of the popular drink have emailed the CEO of the supermarket to express their anger. Some people have been charged large sums more than they expected after the special offer was rescinded - as Sainsbury's made the special offer 'stackable' - which meant it could apply to other food and drink items if you bought the Prosecco.

It was reported that Phil Coysh from Stroud, ordered 12 bottles of Taste The Difference Prosecco and 30 bottles of Amstel beer online and was expecting to make a saving of over £40 by combining a number of separate offers. It should have cost a total of £67.50. However, he was told the special offer no longer applied - and  was charged £90.The difference in price has been given to him as a voucher - which he can only spend in Sainsbury's.

You don't expect a company like Sainsbury's to behave like this. The email sent to customers on Tuesday said: "Due to unprecedented demand the Taste The Difference Prosecco you ordered is no longer available on the promotion price of £7.50. This means you will be charged the full price of £10 minus any discount that might apply, for example buy 6 bottles of wine and save 25%. We'd still like to honour the offer, we have therefore added the price difference as an e-voucher to your account for the next time you shop online." A Sainsbury’s spokesperson is reported to have said “Our Prosecco offer has been extremely popular and, as with all offers, was subject to availability.  We understand that some customers may be disappointed so, as a gesture of goodwill, have offered them e-vouchers.” 

Figures show Britain’s love affair with Prosecco is continuing to grow, with sales at major supermarkets up 34 per cent to £356 million in the year to the end of February. Prosecco’s popularity is growing so fast that experts have issued fresh warnings of possible shortages of the Italian sparkling wine, and say retailers are starting to source alternatives such as Spanish Cava.Sales of non-Prosecco sparkling wines including Cava rose by 9.4 per cent, to £297 million, while champagne sales rose just one per cent, to £251 million. Like Champagne, Prosecco is geographically limited and can only be produced in a small region of Italy.  Supply is finite and demand is growing everywhere in the world so there is a limit on what retailers can get their hands on. 

You Prosecco lovers have been warned, again. Cheers!


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