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New Zealand investing in low alcohol wine for UK

New Zealand are set to go all out on pushing below 10.5%ABV wines to the UK. According to Justine Gilliland of the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries, by 2015 10% of the UK market will comprise wines with below 10.5% ABV. Some within the NZ wine industry remain sceptical and fear that New Zealand will be seen to be pushing what will be seen as no more than glorified grape juice. Gilliland remained adamant that worldwide consumers were making their wine choices based on a healthier low calorie lower alcohol options – known as Lifestyle wines . She maintained this was the fastest growing market sector growing by 30% each year and warranted the $16.97m to be invested. The 7 year project will develop new techniques for grapevine growth and wine production, developing viticulture and winery tools.

Richard Halstead from Wine Intelligence cast doubt on future growth for lower alchohol wines. In 2013 he said that growth in this category was down 11% down from 30% the previous year. He also pointed out that an EU Tax Structure law will mean that producers must reduce alcohol to 5.5%ABV or below which technically means the drink isn’t wine but also penalises makers of good quality 6.8% ABV wines.