Moet Hennessy will spend £1.5m in the UK to back the launch of Argentinian sparkling wines that it believes will tempt drinkers away from top-end Prosecco without asking them to pay Champagne prices.
Bottles of Chandon Argentinian sparkling will be on sale in the UK from 1 May and will include a white Brut blend of 50-50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plus a rose blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a small amount of Malbec.
The wines will carry a recommended retail price of £14.99 and £15.99 respectively.
UK customs data shows that sparkling wine consumption in the country has risen by 25% in volume over past five tax years, to the end of March 2013, while the market for still wines has barely moved in that time.
‘The bubbles market in the UK is flying out of the roof,’ said Jean-Guillaume Prats, president of Moet Hennessy’s Estates and Wines business, speaking to Decanter.com in London today (4 March).
‘We feel there’s a gap in the market for an ultra-premium sparkling category,’ he said.
Dosage on the methode traditionelle wines is 6g of sugar per litre, although levels of 14g and 9g were also considered.
‘Argentinian wine is hot in England right now,’ said Prats, explaining the decision to source the wines from the country. The firm owns 1,000ha of vines in Mendoza, predominantly at high altitude.
Moet Hennessy also produces Chandon branded sparkling wines in Brazil, California, Australia and, as of last year, India, while a winemaking project is underway in China and the first wines are due for domestic release in September.
Written by Chris Mercer