NZ growers in £8.5m “skinny” wine push

30th July, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

The New Zealand wine industry is ploughing £8.5m into increasing its “skinny” wine output due to increasing consumer demand for lower alcohol wines.

As reported by The Press newspaper, drinkers in NZ are increasingly seeking out lower alcohol wines in a bid to stay and shape and keep a clear head.

As a response to this new health drive, the New Zealand government has backed a project to develop the county’s lower alcohol wine production with NZ$8m of funding, with the wine industry stumping up the remaining NZ$9m.

It is the largest research project the New Zealand wine industry has ever undertaken, with the goal being to produce world class lower alcohol wines.

“Research indicates that an increasing proportion of consumers are making purchasing decisions around their lifestyle, such as choosing healthier foods and lower-alcohol wines,” New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Phillip Gregan told The Press.

Among the wineries involved in the project are Villa Maria, Mt Difficulty, Giesen Estate and Accolade Wines, distributors of Mud House and Waipara Hills.

Rather than resorting to de-alcoholisation, in a bid to maintain New Zealand’s quality image, the estates indent to produce the lower alcohol wines naturally and will focusing on making wines around the 9% abv mark.

The trend for lower alcohol, low-calorie wines has gathered pace in the last year. A year ago we reported that UK consumers had backed government plans for calorie labels on wine to become legislation as calorie counting is increasingly considered in the wine buying process.

As a result, in February, UK supermarket Sainsbury’s announced it was to put calorie labelling on 20 of its own brand wines after it emerged that 85% of Brits don’t know how many calories there are in a standard glass of wine.

Lower alcohol wines are also booming in the diet obsessed US, with many brands relying on the help of celebrity endorsement to boost sales. Click here for our round up of the top 10 low calorie wine brands on the market.

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