Wine is down 1.5% in value in the past year (IRI, year to January 2016) and the average price point is in danger of dropping as supermarkets champion EDLP.
In a bid to spark growth Origin Wine has launched The Pledge, a range designed to win over craft beer fans.
Owner Bernard Fontannaz told OLN: “If you look at craft beer, it’s amazing. You pay £1 or £2 more for craft beer. They have managed to create a perception that there is more value to it. Wine has everything that craft beer has, but we don’t seem to have been able to communicate it to the consumer.
“Beer managed to go from an industrial product to a craft product and the consumer
gets it. So we are making a craft wine range.”
The Pledge, which launches this month at Prowein, is made in small batches constrained by a number of pledges, such as to only use grapes from a 100-mile radius of the winery, never to use artificial yeast and never to use flying winemakers, in order to enforce its craft credentials.
The wines are specific to the area, such as a Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape or a Malbec from Mendoza, and are hand-crafted at source and hand-harvested.
Fontannaz said: “We are saying that if you like craft beer you will like this wine, because this is the parallel in the wine world. To my surprise, nobody does this.
“People look for authenticity and something more premium, and our craft wine is aimed at answering this expectation.
“It’s about communicating something aspirational. We aim to recreate the phenomenon of craft beer in wine. People are willing to pay more for something that is better.”
One man that backs his vision is Ryan Opaz, a former wine retailer who wrote the influential article On Wine: A Tragedy. He told OLN: “One of the biggest opportunities for the wine community is the beer drinkers.
Craft beer people came from flavourless lager and moved on to flavour and went looking for nuance and character. Wine is an extension of that. It really puzzles me that we don’t have any brands going after the beer market.”