An overview of recent wine products
By Dr. Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
With the number of websites, trade publications (e.g., Chilled, Spirited, The Tasting Panel), data from sources like Nielsen, and related, it can be daunting trying to keep up with new wine-product launches, evolving categories, and what might be on the horizon. Some of the more prevent wine products discussed recently have been: spiked sparkling beverages, rosé and Sauvignon Blanc wines, sangria, and sparkling wines. In this blog post, I have provided a bit of the consumer and market research that I gleaned from the many publications and newsletters that I regularly read.
Spiked sparkling beverages
In 2012, the first hard seltzer (e.g., alcoholic seltzer water), SpikedSeltzer, was introduced based on Nick Shields’ observation of women at a bar who were ordering several vodka sodas (Schultz, 2018). Other motivations for developing spiked sparkling water, according to Casey O’Neill, Boston Beer Company, was that they “were looking for a light, refreshing drink to reward ourselves with that wasn’t heavy on the alcohol” (O’Brien Coffey, 2017).
These products also meet the needs of consumers who seek products low in calories and carbs and are gluten-free with (as you might expect) likely buyers more likely to be younger female drinkers (Wine Business Monthly, 2019a).
Now, the category, “which didn’t exist two years ago” (Wine Business Monthly, 2019a) experienced sales of nearly $487.8 million, while volumes increased 181% for the 52-week period ending December 28, 2018 (Kendal, 2019), and accounted for about 10% of all flavored malt beverage sales in 2018 (Nielsen, 2018).
Several wine-based, alternative beverage alcohol products with 5—6% ABV, have been introduced (Barth, 2018) have been spiked with rosé wine:
- Truly Spiked & Sparkling’s Truly Rosé, with a 5% ABV, 1 g sugar, and 100 calories per serving,
- Nauti Seltzer’s Nauti Rosé
- Smirnoff raspberry rosé flavored spiked sparkling water beverage (90 calories and 1 carb)
Even SodaStream International Ltd has explored the trend. In November 2017, a limited-edition Sparkling Gold “fine alcoholic concentrate,” was launched for the holidays. The concentrate is not used with the SodaStream machine, but rather added to a glass along with chilled sparkling water (https://www.foodandwine.com/news/sodastream-sparkling-gold-riesling). While only available for purchase through the manufacturer’s German website, the product provided users with a 10% ABV beverage “resembling the taste of fruity Riesling wine.”
A product that is available in the US is Drinkmate which is produced by iDrink Products. Using either a Drinkmate Machine or portable Drinkmate Spritzer, which use “Fizz Infuser technology,” consumers can carbonate any beverage.
The Drinkmate sparkling wine spritzer can be crafted in just a few steps: “Add super-chilled white wine to halfway mark of Drinkmate bottle. Carbonate and add [a] slice of lime to rim glass.” https://idrinkproducts.com/blogs/drinkmate-recipes/drinkmate-sparkling-wine-spritzer
Empty CO2 cylinders can be returned to the company for credits that will be applied to future purchases.
Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc
For the four-week period ending December 1, 2018, according to Nielsen-tracked data, off-premise wine sales increased 3.5% (Wine Business Monthly, 2019b). While Chardonnay remains the most popular white wine varietal (based on off-premise value and volume), rosé table wine and Sauvignon Blanc experienced the greatest percentages of growth. Off-premise sales of rosé grew 43.4% in dollar value and 43.8% in volume, and Sauvignon Blanc experienced an 8.4% increase in value and a 6.3% increase in volume (Wine Business Monthly, 2019b).
AdWeek recently published an article that described JNSQ, a new wine brand developed by The Wonderful Company (brands include POM Wonderful, Teleflora, Wonderful Pistachios https://www.wonderful.com). JNSQ is an abbreviation for the French phrase “je ne sais quoi” which is “used to describe someone so unique and exceptional that no words exist to sufficiently capture [the] essence” (http://www.wonderful.com/brands/jnsq.html)
For now, a “Grenache-forward” Rosé Cru (image below) and Sauvignon Blanc, both made with California grapes and packaged in a bottle “inspired by vintage luxury perfume bottles…[with a] resealable glass stopper,” retail for $29.00 on the JNSQ website. A 10% discount is applied to orders if the purchaser subscribes to either a 30, 60, or 90-day replenishment.
According to the article, roséand Sauvignon Blanc were selected as Millennial women’s wine preferences have shifted to these wines. Lynda Resnick, The Wonderful Company co-owner, was quoted as saying these females and “older Gen Z’ers are bringing back an appreciation for quality, craftsmanship and functional beauty.”
To further demonstrate Sauvignon Blanc’s popularity, in 2018, the Sauvignon Blanc Experience (https://sauvignonblancexperience.com), held in May 2018 in Kelseyville, CA, exceeded its goals for attendance. The event which coincided with International Sauvignon Blanc Day featured speakers from wine brands and wine-growing regions around the globe and tastings for consumers and the trade (Wine Industry Advisor, 2018). If you offer this varietal and want to host your own event – the holiday is celebrated the first Friday in May, which will be May 3 in 2019.
Sangria and Sparkling
Referring again to Nielsen data, as reported in Wine Business Monthly (2019b), sangria sales value and volume increased by 10.4 and 5.5%, respectively, for the four-week period ending December 1, 2018, while sparkling wine grew 7.9% in value and 4.4% in volume.
Last summer, Market Watch Magazine published an article about sangria, sales growth at that time, projected on-premise growth (the CEO of Beso Del Sol Sangria predicts that the “category will grow upwards of 50% over the next few years”), and related trends (Marketwatchmag.com 2018). Interviews with retailers, restaurants, and other brands touted the drink’s versatility as a year-round beverage (based on the wine and flavors used in the recipe), the cultural importance to Latino and Portuguese customers, and three brands that experienced “double-digit gains” in 2017.
Of the brands, Lolea (launched in 2014, with a 34.2% growth in 2017) focuses on:
- providing customers with a “better quality product,”
- packaging (e.g., a red, white, pink, black, gold color scheme, resealable bottle) and
- engaging presence (e.g., social media, allowing and encouraging others to download artwork and images and share them with others).
With five different offerings, with flavors ranging from “cherry red tone,” to a sparkling white “enhance with elderberry flowers and wild apples” and both a standard-sized and a 187ml bottle (below), the brand also offers a gift bag set, complementary products (e.g., ice bucket), and a party kit that includes eight 187ml bottles of sangria (four red and four white), and coordinating cups, straws, and bottle opener (https://sangrialolea.com/content.php#producto).
In addition to drinking the sangria “straight up,” a number of cocktail recipes are offered that use the products as ingredients. Examples include adding a splash of Cointreau and pieces of oranges and lemons to a pitcher of their red sangria (https://sangrialolea.com/lolea-n1.php). A great strategy to encourage increased purchasing frequency and volume.
Another company that experienced double-digit growth, Beso Del Sol (launched in 2015, with 39.6% growth in 2017) offers a:
- white (tasting notes: Airén grapes, lemon, peach, and mango),
- rosé (Tempranillo grapes, orange, lemon, peach, mango, and a touch of cinnamon), and
- red sangria (Tempranillo, lemon, orange, and a touch of cinnamon) (https://www.besodelsolsangria.com/our-story/).
Other potential products include sparkling sangrias and a “winter sangria infused with winter fruits and spices” (Marketwatchmag.com 2018). According to their website, their sangrias are gluten-free and vegan certified (https://www.besodelsolsangria.com/our-story/).
Based on the Wine Market Council’s data – Millennial consumers have been the emphasis behind the growth of sparkling wine as are more likely to consume the beverage “sometime during the year, compared with older age groups” (Daniel, 2018/2019). Restaurants interview for the article have had success with sparkling wine cocktails (e.g., as an ingredient for “high-end” sangria, and also mixed with elderflower liqueur, gin, and basil). Rosésparkling and single-serving sized packaging, as you might have guessed, are increasing in popularity.
Several sources mention consumer interest in sparkling wine from New Wine World regions, including New Zealand, South Africa, the US, and Australia – which is known for its sparkling Shiraz. While this sparkling is often a component of an Australian Christmas meal (Wine Companion, 2018), it also pairs well with breakfast items, rare beef, roasted duck, Asian flavors (barbecue pork, teriyaki salmon, and peaking duck pancakes), traditional roasted lamb, and “fruit forward deserts.”
The beverage can be a base for sangria, made with “orange and lemon rinds, cinnamon, brandy, and a dash of soda,” a punch, “just add grapes, berries, mint, and soda…(an option) dash of lime juice for extra bit,” or a desert, “ drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream into a glass” of sparkling shiraz for an “elegant” milkshake-like concoction (Wine Companion, 2018).
If you do not have sparkling shiraz on hand, you can still make a cocktail using prosécco. A recipe published in a recent issue of The Tasting Panel (Jackson, 2018), called the Benvenuto Frizzante, is made with prosécco, amaretto-tasting liqueur, and a variety of other and ingredients.
Barth, J. (2018, December 13). How we will drink wine in 2019: Trends according to winemakers and pros. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jillbarth/2018/12/13/how-we-will-drink-wine-in-2019-trends-according-to-winemakers-and-pros/#24b429123a9c
Daniel, L. (2018/209). Shining sparklers. Cheers 29(6):18-21.
Jackson, M. (2018). Eternally Stylish. The Tasting Panel 76(9):4-6.
Kendall, J. (2019, January 28). Nielsen: Off-premise beer sales flatten in 2018 as hard seltzer sales near $500 million. Retrieved from https://www.brewbound.com/news/nielsen-off-premise-beer-sales-flatten-in-2018-as-hard-seltzer-sales-near-500-million
Market Watch Magazine. (2018, July 30). Sangria time. Retrieved from http://marketwatchmag.com/sangria-time/
Nielsen. (2018, August 24). No signs of fizzing out: America’s love of sparkling water remains strong through August. Retrieved from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/no-signs-of-fizzing-out-americas-love-of-sparkling-water-remains-strong.html
O’Brien Coffey, J. (2017, August 14). Five reasons to drink spiked sparkling water. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanneobriencoffey/2017/08/14/five-reasons-to-drink-spiked-seltzer-now/#26799bbc415e
Roth, B. (2018, June 20). A sparkling success – Why hard seltzer is a $500 million category worth watching. Retrieved from https://www.goodbeerhunting.com/sightlines/2018/6/18/a-sparkling-success-why-hard-seltzer-is-a-400-million-category-worth-watching),
Schultz, E.J. (2018, April 16). How the brand that started the spiked seltzer craze is trying to keep its edge. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/brand-started-spiked-seltzer-craze/313119/
Wine Business Monthly. (2019a). Outlook & Trends. Wine Business Monthly. 26(2): 19-22, 24, 26, 28, 30-31.
Wine Business Monthly. (2019b). Retail sales analysis: Off-premise wine sales rise 3.5 percent. Wine Business Monthly. 26(2):172-173.
Wine Industry Advisor. (2018, May 25). Sauvignon Blanc Experience attracts attention of the wine industry. Retrieved from https://www.wineindustryadvisor.com/2018/05/25/sauvignon-blanc-experience-attention-wine-industry
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