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Make mine a wine

Author: Liz Wells

Source: Talking Retail 

Health and wellness are the main reasons fuelling these trends, especially among younger consumers who traditionally steer clear of the wine category and tend to prefer sweeter, fruiter flavours. Andrew Nunney, category, shopper and insights director at Accolade Wines, which owns wine brands including Echo Falls, says: “With 19.9% year-on-year growth for the low- and no-alcohol category, it represents a growing £17m profit opportunity for the trade to drive purchase on occasions when consumers might be seeking an alternative to alcohol.”

Bottle sizes
Andrew Turner, director of wine at Halewood Wines & Spirits, owner of non-alcoholic wine brand Eisberg, says: “Drinking rates are at their lowest in 18 years. According to the Office for National Statistics, around one in five adults in the UK is now teetotal – about 8% more than 10 years ago – indicating that this is not a trend that is set to die out any time soon.” He says people who choose not to drink alcohol do not want to feel alienated on social occasions or restricted in choice, so retailers should offer “clear alternatives” in-store. “When it comes to low- and no-alcohol,” Turner says, “consumers are looking for grown-up alternatives. Eisberg has invested in new labels that not only clearly communicate the quality of the product but have also been designed to entice the younger drinkers driving the shift towards low- and no-alcohol.”

For those simply looking to reduce their alcohol intake, retailers should also consider stocking smaller bottle sizes. Hannah Kennedy, NPD manager at Kingsland Drinks, says there has been considerable consumer interest in smaller formats for wine consumption during the middle of the week.

Midweek wine
She says: “We know from our WinePro research that consumers are moderating, and this format allows consumers to just enjoy a glass or two midweek, instead of opening up a whole bottle.” Nunney says mini formats work well in the convenience channel because of the prevalence of shopper missions such as ‘meal for tonight’, and for single-person households.

In March 2019, Barefoot launched a 187ml White Zinfandel variant into its portfolio, retailing at £2. Mark Stammers, sales director at brand owner E&J Gallo, says: “As consumers are more readily purchasing ‘for tonight’ as opposed to doing a weekly shop, as well as choosing to moderate their alcohol consumption, we expect 187ml items to play an increasingly important role in the wine category for 2019.”

Convenient cans
Barefoot also launched a canned wine format for some of its white and rosé wines in May this year. Its Pinot Grigio and White Zinfandel varietals are available from Booker, Bestway and Dhamecha in 250ml cans and retail at £2.50. Each can holds the equivalent of one large glass of wine. Canned formats are not only suitable for people looking to reduce their alcohol intake, the company says, but are also favourable during the summer months when consumers are more likely to host barbecues and similar outdoor events. Stammers at E&J Gallo says: “We know consumers are leaving the wine category during certain drinking occasions such as house parties, picnics and barbecues, because few easy alternatives for ideal packaging exist in wine.”

Fruity fusions
Charlotte Ward, category and insights manager at Concha y Toro UK, says: “Wine drinks in cans is a hugely growing sector. We launched O’jos, which is a wine spritzer, in two flavours last month.” O’jos is available in 250ml cans in Rosé Spritz and Chardonnay Spritz varieties.

A further significant trend within the wine category has been the move towards sweeter and fruitier varieties, especially among younger drinkers. Nunney at Accolade Wines says fruitier and more refreshing wines are “very current”, including rosés and lighter whites, which are key for retailers to stock, especially in the summer when these styles grow in popularity. Echo Falls has tapped into this trend with two “fusion” products – Rosé Wine & Gin Fusion, with strawberry and raspberry flavours, and White Wine & Rum Fusion, with coconut and pineapple flavours. David White, marketing director at Accolade Wines, says: “Our sweeter-style fruit fusion appeals to those who like the idea of wine but can find the taste challenging.” Similarly, Treasury Wine Estates launched Blossom Hill Gin Fizz in March this year, a blend of white wine and gin available in Rhubarb and Lemon & Raspberry flavours.

Staple formats
Rosé wine is also a good introduction to the wine category for these consumers. Toni Ingram, head of marketing for Pernod Ricard UK, says: “Last year saw continued growth in the rosé wine category, as consumers are not only buying rosé in the summer months but all year round.” Campo Viejo launched its first-ever rosé in April this year, in a bid to tap into the “growing popularity of Provence-style rose”.

Turner at Halewood Wines & Spirits says the rise in sparkling wines is set to continue. He says: “Sparkling wine is a key product all year round, due to its association with special events. It is seen as both relatively affordable compared with Champagne, yet still a treat.” Martini added an Asti Ice variant to its portfolio last month (June), which has been specially formulated to be served over ice during the summer. The 750ml bottle retails at £8.98 and is an “exclusive twist” on the brand’s original Asti variant. The brand claims the flavours of pear, pineapple, grape, melon and peach are “enhanced when poured over ice”.

Keep it chilled
As we head into the summer months, consumers will naturally gravitate towards the chiller when buying wine. Turner says 80% of wines are consumed within 24 hours of purchase, so retailers should provide shoppers with wines that are at the “perfect serving temperature” to help drive impulse purchases. He says chilling wine, especially during the warmer months where impromptu occasions are more common, helps “meet expectations and improve loyalty”.

Ward at Concha y Toro says retailers should include within their wine chiller all the key grape varieties consumers expect, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Chardonnay and rosé. Concha y Toro has added a chilled red wine variant to its Bicicleta range; the brand’s Pinot Noir varietal now has a thermochromic label that tells consumers when the wine has been chilled to the perfect temperature – the bicycle logo will turn blue when put into the chiller. Ward adds that the growth of Malbec as a red grape variety “shows no sign of stopping”, with Argentina being the most popular country of origin for the grape and having seen 10% growth in the impulse sector alone over the past year.

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