Waitrose lists first English orange wine

Waitrose is adding its first English orange wine and two English wines in a can to its shelves this month.

The upmarket retailer is adding the new wines as part of a range extension of its 100 plus English and Welsh range, which has seen its still wines grow 156% this year, with sparkling English wines rising 60%, it said.

Seven wines have been added to the range, including its first orange wine, which is made by Surrey-based wine consultancy and contract winemakers Litmus Wines.

The Litmus Orange is a 100% Bacchus, which is aged on skins before being pressed into two to five-year-old French barriques and left for nine months, resulting in a “straw gold wine with orange hues and grassy, quince and hazelnut overtones”, the retailer said. It is only the second orange wine made by Litmus’s chief winemaker and director, John Worontschak, which first produced an orange wine in 2015.

Worontschak said it had a “striking and unusual pithy tannin structure” that was initially “disorientating” but proved “harmonious and smooth with good acidity and an incredibly long finish”.

“The wine will get more interesting with time and can be enjoyed with oily meats and spicy dishes,” he added.

The retailer has also unveiled new premium English canned wines from Peckham-based brand The Uncommon, which was launched last year by entrepreneurs Henry Connell and Alex Thraves.

The new 2018 vintage, which uses grapes grown in Hampshire, Surrey and Kent, comprises a sparkling white made (rrp: £4.99) from Bacchus grapes and a new sparkling rosé (rrp: £4.99) from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in a single-serve light-weight  aluminium can that chills is under ten minutes. The white will be on shelf at the end of May, followed by the rosé in July.

The brand is designed to appeal to a younger consumer and target on-the-go and alfresco occasions such as festivals, picnics and travelling, saying it wants to “inject innovation and move consumers away from preconceived ideas and rules about wine.”

Waitrose Cellar will also stock two new producers who have previously not been available in the UK supermarkets, Simpson Estate’s 2018 vintage “On The QT” single vineyard Pinot Meunier Blanc de Noir from Kent ( axxx ), a Pinot Noir Rose and a Chardonnay also from Simpsons, and the new Blanc de Blancs from Bride Valley in Dorset, made by Steven Spurrier.

Victoria Mason, Waitrose & Partners wine buyer, said the new launches reflected some key trends within the industry.

“We’re very excited to have an orange wine on our shelves, one of very few being made in England. Canned wine is becoming increasingly popular and we’re proud to be adding two excellent effervescent English wines to our successful range.

“Supporting smaller, local producers is also very important to our shoppers, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce two new vineyards to Waitrose, which have previously not been available on a national scale.”

Chapel Down was the first commercial English wine producer to release an orange wine in 2014, with a £20 orange wine made from Bacchus grapes which targeted the independent sector.


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