Felix Solis boosts ‘heinous’ low-alcohol category with new range

Félix Solís has teamed up with Tesco to launch three wines containing just 0.5% alcohol, admitting that the category has largely been “heinous” for wine lovers.

The new range, which is exclusive to Tesco, comprises a Cabernet Tempranillo, Garnacha-Rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc (RRP: £3.00) from Spain, which have been de-alcoholised to 0.5% ABV using the spinning cone method.

The wines were soft-launched to the trade at last month’s London Wine Fair, and had been expected to go on shelf in the autumn, once the final packaging had finalised, Richard Cochrane, md of the UK arm of the Spanish wine producer Félix Solís Avantis told db.

Speaking to db at last month’s show, Cochrane admitted that the no- and low alcohol category was “heinous”, commenting that tasting a large range in one sitting was “a pretty woeful experience”, and although there were “a couple of very good ones”, they were in the minority.

This was one reason the company decided to make a de-alcoholised wine (at 0.5%) rather than a no-alcohol wine (at 0.0%), in order to “retain cues that were designed to appeal to wine drinkers, rather than the soft drink drinker” while still enabling people who might otherwise be shut out of the category – if they were driving or pregnant – to drink wine.

“If you go all the way to no alcohol, you do down the same process at the beginning to remove all the aromatics and alcohol, but you can’t then add the aromatics back into the wine as that would be adding back much alcohol – so all the things that makes it interesting have to go into the bin, which is rubbish! So we felt that below 0.5% was not an option,” he told db.

Tesco’s Master of Wine James Davis said demand for lower and no- alcohol drinks had been growing among consumers and that while the quality of the beer and cider had been steadily improving wine had been “firmly left in the shade”.

“With the consumption of alcohol in the UK down by 18% over the last decade, we’re seeing an increasing numbers of customers who want to enjoy the social aspect of having a drink, and are looking for a quality wine drinking experience, but without the alcohol,” he said.

“This is the first wine range of its kind sold by a supermarket, which offers customers a real comparable alternative to popular varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, without any compromise on taste. “

In March, db revealed that the retailer was preparing to roll out a new bay of low and no-alcohol wines as part of a new focus on the growing category, which went live later that month.

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