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Accolade to ‘extend portfolio’ of lower-alcohol wines

Accolade Wines is committed to developing the market for lower-alcohol wine - and to ‘unlocking’ the potential of Moscato in the UK.

Accolade – which owns brands such as Banrock Station and Kumala – says lighter and sweeter styles have grown 66% this year.

Its findings, from research conducted by Nielsen amongst 40,000 UK consumers, echoes separate research Nielsen carried out in the US, which showed still wines made from Moscato showed growth in the US in both value and volume of more than 95% since 2010.

In the UK, wines like Banrock Station Light and Banrock Station Moscato, with 5.5% alcohol, are forerunners for a style that will be ‘extended across the portfolio,’ Accolade said.

The lighter and sweeter styles are particularly aimed at women in the ‘Routiners’ demographic category, identified as ‘Midlife family established drinkers’ which make up some 13% of the UK adult drinking population.

‘Perhaps not surprisingly, the key benefits of fewer calories and reduced alcohol …resonate most with older female consumers,’ Accolade’s research found.

But there is still some way to go before Moscato takes off in the UK as it has done in the US and Australia.

Stephen Loftus, Accolade’s director of innovation, said they were ‘spending time trying to understand’ how Moscato, which is booming in the US and Australia, would appeal to UK consumers.

‘In Australia it is popular amongst younger consumers who buy it for everyday refreshment, but in the UK it seems to be more of a discovery for expert consumers.

‘So it’s the opposite over here and we need to unlock it to really get under the surface of why it’s worked.’

Accolade said that it is also exploring ways of bringing alcohol levels down to the 11-12% mark on many different wine styles.

‘We are talking to winemakers for the coming vintages in South Africa and Australia,’ James Lousada, commercial general manager told Decanter.com. ‘We’re looking at ways you might take 1-1.5% alcohol out of the wine, whether it’s by picking earlier or by other methods.’

He said that with certain sweeter styles – such as Echo Falls White Zinfandel from California – it was much easier to take out alcohol without alchol losing taste.

In its research in the US, reported during Bordeaux Vinexpo in June this year, Nielsen found the US’s 50m Hispanic population, which tends to favour sweeter styles, was a key driver in the popularity of wines such as Moscato and Riesling.

It also found that the younger Millennial and Generation X sectors – under-35-year-olds – tend to be interested in the health-giving aspects of wine and gravitate towards lighter, lower-alcohol styles.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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