Southcorp, Hardys and other major Australian wine companies are infusing wines with fruit flavours – to universal satisfaction, it seems.

South Australian company Kingston Estate is the latest to try flavoured wines with the Nautico range which was released recently into hair salons.

‘We’re trying to get to real people,’ marketing manager Lynda Schenck said. ‘The hairdressers loved it.’

The crimpers in question sent out Christmas cards offering a free bottle of Nautico with every AUS$150 hairdo. Customers could choose from the berry-flavoured white Shiraz, the tropical fruit infused Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, or the unwooded Chardonnay enhanced with citrus flavours.

The response was so good that Nautico now sells in Woolworths supermarkets in New South Wales and South Australia.

There are also flavoured sparkling wines on the market: Southcorp’s strawberry-flavoured Killawarra Dusk and Hardys Omni Citrus. These wines, introduced in the past three years, are aimed squarely at novice wine drinkers and those who prefer the spirit and soft drink combinations of the ready to drink (RTD) category.

The category is evolving quickly. Last July Southcorp added the ginseng and passionfruit flavoured Killawarra Krush to their range, after research showed the word ‘ginseng’ suggested health. Southcorp says it’s not making any health claims for the wine. ‘The amount of actual ginseng is fairly low.’

The market has responded with enthusiasm. According to ACNielsen, sparkling wine is one of Australia’s fasting growing wine segments, with rosé and flavoured sparklings leading the way: the sub-category grew by more than 150% to May 2005.

The wine is due in UK supermarket Sainsbury’s this summer.

Written by Felicity Carter