Consumers ‘misled’ by wine-based drinks

Shoppers are being ‘misled’ by supermarkets selling “wine based” drinks, which only contain 75% wine but are marketed as wine and sold in the wine aisle.

As reported by the Daily Mail, the likes of Copper Australian Red sold at Sainsbury’s and The Shy Pig Crisp White on sale at Morrisons are “wine based” drinks being sold in the same way as normal wines.

Wine ratings website Wot Wine has spoken out about the practice, accusing supermarkets of misleading consumers and “damaging” the integrity of the wine industry.

“You can sell what you like but you should tell the customer what it is, because it’s not wine. It reminds me of the days when dodgy landlords would tip water into barrels of beer,” a Wot Wine spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

“When something is sold as wine but it isn’t, that is beyond the pale. I don’t think most people buying it realise what it is. Some of the wines were passable, just lacking character and dilute, while others were unpleasant, contrived and manufactured tasting.

“The so-called wine is highly misleading and damages the industry’s integrity,” they added.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine states that to be called a ‘wine based drink’ the product must contain a minimum of 75% wine, though producers do not have to divulge what the remaining 25% is made up of.

Wot Wine described the £6.25 Copper Red: “a poor, bitter and sweet thin drink”, and Copper White “nasty, unclean, pongy, thin and acidic.”

Made by Australian Vintage, the wines are shipped in bulk to the UK where they are bottled.

‘We abide by all legal requirements. It is categorised as a wine based drink as there is an addition of sugar and water in the production process,” a spokesperson for Australian Vintage told the Mail.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson added: “Copper Australian Red is clearly labelled as a wine based drink. With an abv of 12.5%, it is appropriate for it to be stocked within the wine aisle, along with other wine based products.

5 Responses to “Consumers ‘misled’ by wine-based drinks”

  1. Martin says:

    I have seen the white version of Copper on sale amongst the wines at Sainsbury’s Torquay this morning and mentioned it to a customer services person who was content that the small print on the back label was sufficient to meet legal requirements. No doubt he is right but I think customers are entitled to expect that bottles placed on the shelves amongst wines will in fact be wines and that Sainsbury’s in doing that are showing an unhelpful attitude, and indeed disrespect, to their customers. There may be other wine-based drinks hidden amongst real wine and Sainsbury’s should be ashamed of themselves.
    What makes it worse is that, according to your review, some of these drinks taste foul, and aren’t particularly cheap either.

  2. Steve says:

    Are Australian Vintage the only company making products like this?

  3. JIM says:

    I quite like the shy pig red. it compares well tastewise to a lot of more expensive wines. it’s also available for about £3.50 so you can’t realy expect a vintage wine.

  4. Soobilou says:

    Ive just fallen foul of this Alcoholic dishonesty.. I bought Shy Pig at Morrisons. I was looking for a cheap plonk for a Thursdsy night and this was on a promotion stand at the front of the store with other alcohol products including special offer beers and wines. I only noticed the phrase “wine bases drink ” at home when I was reading the label about the name .
    I do feel duped, If it had have been cheap wkne I would still be disappointed with the taste which is quite bitter and a littke chemical .
    I think it should be marketed in differnt shape bottles and but with other alcoholic drinks such as alcopops ect.

  5. JOHN says:

    Maybe the label should say ‘75% wine. Bottled in Croydon” Then again, what do we expect for £4.50 a pop?

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