|Richard Siddle: comment July 1 on why you should put your money on low alcohol wine|
|Written by Richard Siddle|
|Monday, 04 July 2011 13:33|
Whisper it gently but low alcohol might wines just be about to have their moment in the sun. The prospect may send many in the trade rushing for the nearest highly concentrated 15% plus Australian Shiraz, but at the other end of the spectrum low alcohol wines are very much on buyers' if not necessarily consumers lips - at least not yet.
The purists will be pleased to hear they have not suddenly just been blown over by their quality, although standards are certainly on the rise. No, they see an opportunity to keep the highly important sub £5 category alive.
As the rest of the trade and global wine suppliers have to tackle with increasing unsustainable duty and VAT levels, the low alcohol category at 5.5% and below offers duty breaks to whet the lips of buyers and producers alike.
If you looked hard enough at last week's Vinexpo low alcohol wines were one of the key trends of the show. Producers may not go out of their way to talk to you about them, but many had ready to go ranges trying to hide on their stands.
One producer who was very happy to show his new low alcohol range, Light and Fair, was Origin's Bernard Fontannaz.
He sees low alcohol wine as becoming the only wine capable of existing profitably below £5 in the UK. The only category capable of offering three for £10 deals. For a supplier like Origin, to get its wines on the shelf further up the price ladder it helps to have a low alcohol wine that can play at below £5.
The other even more compelling reason for the healthy future of low alcohol wines is they tick all the right boxes in the drinks industry's discussions with the government over improved responsibility in our promoting and selling of alcoholic drinks. The WSTA has targeted an increase in its reduced duty for wines up to 8.5% as part of its lobbying strategy.
So for political as well as retailing reasons low alcohol wines are heading for a store near you.