Mateus joins low alcohol movement

Mateus has unveiled a range of low alcohol wines, its second range launch in a year, with owner Sogrape pledging to invest £2 million in the UK alone.

The new Mateus Light range on show at London Wine Fair

The new Mateus Light range on show at London Wine Fair

The 5.5% abv white, rosé and sparkling styles within this Mateus Light collection follow the launch in March of Mateus Expressions, a four-strong range of wines that each blends an international variety with a Portuguese grape. Both ranges mark a shift away from the distinctive flask shaped bottle of Mateus The Original, which remains a core product for the brand.

“If we want to appeal to new, different consumers then we have to be relevant,” explained Anthony Habert, marketing manager for Stevens Garnier, UK agent and subsidiary of Sogrape.

While insisting that Mateus The Original retains an extremely loyal consumer following, he outlined the need to appeal to other demographics. “Great as it is, there isn’t a varietal guide and you wouldn’t necessarily take it to someone’s house for dinner,” he told the drinks business. “That’s what Mateus Expressions does; it’s about consumer relevance.”

The new Mateus Light range is made using spinning cone technology to remove alcohol, before the end product is blended back into the original wine. Although noting that this technique is “more expensive”, Habert maintained: “We think it just gives better results – it keeps the aromas protected and you can add back some of the volatile compounds.”

Mateus Light is on show at this week’s London Wine Fair. It carries an RRP of around £4.49 for the white and rosé expressions, while the sparkling is about £6.99. The labels also feature calorie information, which is calculated at 44 calories per 100ml serve.

Citing statistics reported last week by the Daily Mail, which claimed that low alcohol wines now account for a fifth of all bottles sold in the UK, Habert highlighted the improvements that have taken place within this emerging category.

“There was a period when it went onto shelf and was faltering because people weren’t sure,” he observed. “But now retailers are putting these wines in their own fixture, people know these options are out there.”

The new launches, as well as a recent packaging overhaul for the brand’s sparkling range, are being supported in the UK by a £2m investment from Sogrape. According to Habert this will be used primarily for “retailer specific initiatives” rather than advertising. “Where we get listings we will really support it,” he promised.

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