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Villa Maria launches lighter alcohol wine range

Published:  10 March, 2015

New Zealand winery Villa Maria is set to launch a lower abv wine range into the UK off-trade.

The Villa Maria Private Bin Lighter range comprises three varietals - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and a rosé - which all have an abv of 9%. It is available from UK agent, Hatch Mansfield from April (rrp: £10.25).

Fiona Mottershaw, Villa Maria Brand Manager at Hatch Mansfield said there was an increasing number of consumers, particularly younger consumers and millennials looking for drink options to suit their healthier lifestyles "Villa Maria is responding to the growing alcohol awareness within this demographic," she said. "This range offers these lifestyle conscious consumers exactly that - a lighter alternative in terms of alcohol and calories but made without compromising on taste."

The brand said it wanted to be wanted to be "ahead of the curve" in the lighter alcohol category and produce a range that was naturally lighter in alcohol but did not compromise on taste and quality.

Paul Raper the Villa Maria Market Manager for UK & Ireland said the quality of existing low alcohol wines in the U.K market has traditionally been poor. "Villa Maria knew that they could not only produce lower alcohol wines, but produce lower alcohol wines of high quality. They have access to the best vineyard sites and high quality grapes so are in a good position to be able do this. There is no drastic intervention in the winery to achieve the lower alcohol, it is simply that we use slightly early picked grapes and carefully selected yeasts and some extended skin contact to absorb a bit more flavour."  

The alcohol contents of the new range is around 25% lower than the standard private bin range.

Villa Maria said the innovation was part an initiative encouraged by the New Zealand government, which is looking to position New Zealand as a world leader in lower alcohol wines. 

A report published by Wine Intelligence in September suggested the lower alcohol category has lost traction due to a lack of awareness and poor quality perceptions.