Naked Wines research finds consumers preferring higher alcohol wine

Naked Wines, the online wine retailer which crowd funds independent winemakers through its customer base of over 250,000 ‘angles’, has found that its consumers are favouring higher alcohol wines.

Eamon Fitzgerald, Naked Wines’ UK managing director said there was agrowing preference for “punchier, more intense wines with a higher alcohol content than people were used to a few decades ago.”

In an internal analysis of the company’s data and consumer ratings, customers prefer wines from warmer climates and wines with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 14.2%, which ranked highest on average from consumers.

Naked Wines inside consumer rankings

Naked Wines inside consumer rankings

Source: Naked Wines

The graph shows that some of the highest ranked wines on average have a higher ABV

According to Naked Wines’ wine director, Ray O’Connor, the higher alcohol in wines today is a result of both a change in viticulture and oenology practices as well as an increase in temperatures. He said: “The impact of modern viticulture and winemaking has seen vines become more efficient with developments, meaning they produce greater sugar levels, resulting in higher alcohol. However, moderate increases in temperature over the growing season deliver riper fruit, greater intensity and higher sugar levels to the wine.”

The shift in higher alcohol wines is however appealing to people’s palates according to Naked Wine research and more in line with what consumers are looking for stylistically with the wines that they are drinking. According to O’Connor the higher alcohol wines “seems to be exactly what people are wanting.”

Despite the long term challenges that climate change can have on wine regions around the world, presently the short term benefit is producers are making more consumer friendly wines. “While there is no doubt that climate change will make winemaking a challenge in the long term, the short term effects in some regions are actually appealing to current tastes,” said O’Connor.

The company has captured more than three million customers’ reviews from the UK since it launched in 2008 for its 1,700 wines, according to Fitzgerald. He said: “Since 2008 we have captured 3m ratings on over 1,700 wine different wines from our customers in the UK, which gives us a unique and market-leading insight into consumers taste and trends. “

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