By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

The fruit infused wine category is relatively new to Australia but has been making waves over in the UK, so should retailers be paying attention? 

Led by a growing trend in the UK, the fruit infused wine category is one to watch, with retailers and suppliers who are looking to capture that 18 to 35-year-old female demographic, or entice new entrants into the wine market.

While it is evident the premiumisation trend is still going strong with both red and white wine showing growth in the $16-$25 category in 2015, according to suppliers, the more affordable fruit infused wine category is intended as a stepping stone for cider or craft beer drinkers to start exploring wine.

In December 2015, Warburn Estate went to market with its Sweet Lips Infusions brand – a range including three infusions – Hibiscus Pomegranate and Lime; Orange Blossom and Nutmeg; and Mango Ginger and Lemongrass. Such has been its success, that just three months on the brand added a fourth varietal to its line-up; Mango, Elderflower and Passionfruit.

Francis Fusca, executive director sales and marketing at Warburn Estate, said: "In keeping with a global shift towards lower alcohol, lighter styles of wine and alcohol, we realised it was time to add a wine infusion to our portfolio and be at the forefront of this direction. It's exciting to be working in a brand new category that gives the consumer choice as to how they choose to consume it.”

He added: “We work to be ahead of market demands and flavour trends – so extensions are a natural part of the brand – there is a current extension in the works. Rapid movement within the alcohol sector and the ever changing face of the consumer means you must always be innovating and extending.”

Meanwhile, Accolade Wines has been making waves in the UK with its fruit flavoured wines, which are also available in Australia through Coles and Woolworths, but a new range for the independents is currently in discussion and slated to be in stores before the summer trading period.

Accolade marketing manager Travis Fuller noted the success of the Echo Falls fruit flavoured wines in the UK, which has led to the introduction of Hardys Hidden Orchard and Banrock Fruits through Woolworths and Coles.

“We have made $1 million worth of sales since mid-October in Coles and Woolworths, drawing off the success of the Echo Falls wines in the UK where we sold two million nine litre cases in the 2016 calendar year period," Fuller said.

"We launched into Australia for summer and got it into the fridge with good promotional support. The retailers have been very happy with it and the advantage we have with all of the flavours coming out of the UK, is that we get to take the best of the products into the Australian market as they trial them first.”

According to Fuller, when the fruit infused wines will hit the shelves of the independents, is dependent on customer acceptance and approval.

“Gone are the days where you just develop products and go ta-da here it is, all of these things are done in consultation and hand-in-hand with our key customers and the independents are a core part of that for our business. 

“It's important that we get this right, we obviously have every intent of having it in-store for the summer period as early as possible, so once we get the product and the brand right, taking the learnings from the ones that we've already launched, we'll be away in line with our independent requirements,” he said.

“What we're trying to do is disrupt the normal buying pattern of consumers because many of them aren't necessarily going into a liquor store to buy wine. They are often heading to the fridge section to buy either cider or craft beers, so our intent is to disrupt that purchase cycle and show them that this could be a stepping stone into wine.”

Fuller suggests that retailers display fruit infused wines either in the fridge beside the likes of cider or craft beer, or on separate display stacks off-location away from wines. As such, Accolade has developed off-location display units.

“We have developed a number of off-location display units to ensure that they don't just disappear onto the shelves as part of a normal wine shelf set, because as I mentioned, a lot of shoppers are potentially new to wine, so they're not looking in the wine section. We've developed off-location displays which pull out a lot of the bright, colourful, crisp and cleaner styles that these wines are and then the other key for this is in the fridge section next to the likes of cider and craft beer,” he said.

So, while it may be too early to tell if fruit infused wines are going to be the next big thing here in Australia, the numbers seem to indicate that it is definitely a category to watch.

This article first appeared in the May edition of National Liquor News.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *