New wine category from New Zealand launches in Australia

NZ Lighter Wines will launch in Australia this summer with a selection of wines available at major retailers across the country from November.

The NZ Lighter wine initiative is focused on the natural production of lighter-in-alcohol wines (defined as wines containing less than 10 per cent alcohol by volume).

NZ lighter wine is the largest new wine category research initiative ever undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry.

Eighteen New Zealand wine companies have been involved in the initiative collaborating on research into all aspects of lighter-in-alcohol wines, working to maintain the quality, flavour and varietal expression that New Zealand wine is famous for.

Major Australian retailers Endeavour Drinks and Coles Liquor are responding to customer demand and supporting the lower alcohol beverage category as the Australian liquor industry experiences a significant trend towards moderation and more mindful consumption of alcohol.

This is reflected in the latest 2018 IWSR Report that forecasts strong growth in reduced alcohol beer, wine and spirits, growing health consciousness and a preference for lighter and more refreshing drinks.

Wine Intelligence research commissioned by the programme shows that 50% of Australian premium wine drinkers are open to purchasing lighter-alcohol wine providing they don’t compromise quality and flavour.

One in three Australians either moderated or abstained from consuming alcohol on specific occasions in the last three months.

Andrew Sheddon, head of fine wine, Dan Murphy’s said, “Moderation is one of the key trends in Australia and lower alcohol offerings are growing in popularity with our customers across all categories”.

“We’ve been responding to the shifting drinking habits for some time and we continue to adjust our range to accommodate more products aligned with this trend.

“Pleasingly the quality of lower alcohol wines we’re seeing has improved significantly in the last few years and, as a result, are increasingly becoming an appealing option for consumers. Dan Murphy’s welcomes the NZ Lighter wine initiative.”

The initiative has already seen considerable growth in New Zealand and NZ Lighter Wines are now exported to the UK, Europe and North America to satisfy growing consumer demand.

NZ Lighter Wines brands available in Australia this summer include: Brancott Estate Flight, The Doctors’, Giesen Pure Light, In Session with Crafter’s Union, The People’s Sessions, Yealands Lighter and Stoneleigh Bright.

With the wines available nationally in Dan Murphy’s, BWS, First Choice, Liquorland and selected independent liquor stores from November, with The Doctors’ only available through Laithwaite’s Wine People.

There are plans to distribute more lighter wines in Australia’s leading retail liquor outlets in the months ahead with tastings at major outlets.

Photo: John Forrest with the Doctors’ range of lighter wines stocked at Marks & Spencer, UK