Wines with a 5.5% abv or lower receive a favourable tax break and sales are growing in these lighter styles, but the overwhelming complaint is that they do not taste like wine
But Accolade’s Paul Schaafsma believes wines with an 8-8.5% abv would deliver on taste and could also seriously reduce overall alcohol consumption if given the tax advantage and backed by retailers.
He said: “A 5.5% wine isn’t going to taste the same as a 12% wine. You can only go so far at 5.5%. At 8-8.5% you can do a lot more – you are still getting a similar style to a 12-12.5% wine.
“I would love to get industry support for a duty break at 8%.
“It’s something we talk about at industry functions, winemakers say it would be better and we hear rumblings. It’s a fair challenge. I think it would be a good thing.”
In the meantime, Accolade’s category insight manager Ian Anderson urged the industry to get behind lighter-style wines.
He called them a “crucial part of the market” and said: “I hear, read and see too much negativity about them but they absolutely deliver on what they promise and we see no difference in terms of complaints, returns and repeat purchase rates.
“Every single grocery category has a lighter version of the standard product so why shouldn’t wine? It’s socially responsible and retailers should be pushing it.”
Schaafsma added: “We can use these lighter styles to bring in the 18-25 category, who are used to drinking cider and RTD and then hopefully they will develop through the flavour profile into more complex wines.”