Jacob’s Creek wary of low alcohol tag

Jacob’s Creek is choosing to emphasise the “light and fresh” style of its new Cool Harvest range, instead of aligning itself directly with the lower alcohol wine sector.

Despite the recent growth of reduced alcohol wines in the UK, from Sainsbury’s commitment to doubling its lighter alcohol range by 2020 to new releases from major brands such as Banrock Station Light, the poor image of this category has been recognised as a barrier to success.

Introducing the Cool Harvest range – a Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz rosé – Jacob’s Creek sparkling, white and rosé winemaker, Rebakah Richardson, stressed: “we’re really not going after the low alcohol thing and putting ourselves alongside those 5.5% [abv] wines.”

Contrasting these styles with the Cool Harvest range, which sits between 9.5% and 10.5% abv, Richardson remarked: “the biggest difficulty with wines at 5.5% is always going to be flavour and also sweetness.”

She pointed to the research behind this new range, explaining: “consumers wanted lower alcohol, but they didn’t want to compromise on flavour.”

Describing Jacob’s Creek as being “in a more dynamic phase than we have been for a while,” Richardson revealed: “there’s a lot more product development happening and it’s very consumer focused. We were looking at gaps in our portfolio and ‘light and fresh’ was one of them.”

It was this desire to preserve flavour, thereby retaining what Richardson referred to as the “wine credentials” of the new range, which contributed to the decision to include Vermentino. “The beautiful thing about Vermentino is that it expresses itself very well early on,” observed Richardson.

The Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest range will be available in the UK from February 2011 with an RRP of £8.49.

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