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Fruit-fusion wines reaching "critical mass', Australian Vintage boss says

Published:  26 May, 2015

Fruit-fusion wines are reaching a tipping point that is seeing them readily accepted by consumers and able to be merchandised as a new category, a leading wine brand owner has claimed.

Julian Dyer of Australian Vintage told the wine industry needs to stop being squeamish and embrace lighter style and fruit fusion wines as they are here to stay.

"I don't think we should worry and criticise fruit flavoured wine saying it is not wine, but recognise it is innovation at the edges that is trying to broaden the spectrum of people trying to come into the wine family," he said, adding that it was important that the industry innovates. "I don't see why we allow [other categories] others to innovate and we have the same products in the same old packaging and accept a decline."

He said the industry had spent two or three years trying to work out what to do while other drinks categories stole a march on provenance, authenticity, craft, wine language as well as customers. "We have not had the opportunity to fight back," he said.

Although merchandising had been difficult for early adopters, the fruit-fusion and low alcohol category was reaching a "critical mass" he noted, and retailers were likely to follow Asda's move to merchandise low alcohol and fruit-fusion sparkler in a separate fixture.

"There is sufficient innovation and products in the category for people to know what the category is about, so it stands up in its own right and you can merchandise it together. Customers will go there as they will recognise it," he said.

Australian Vintage is rolling out its low-alcohol sparkling fruit fusion, Summertime - a rebranded version of its popular Australian fruit fusion blend, Passion Pop - into Asda from 1 June. It comprises three variants, passion fruit, watermelon and mixed berry and is priced around the £5.50 mark.

It is adding a rose sku in its 8.5% abv brand Shy Pig(rsp: £3.99) that launched at the end of last year, and which uses Australian Vintage's patented spinning cone technology to lower the alcohol content.

Michael Saunders, chief executive of Bibendum PLB agreed that fruit-fusion and sparkling wines were the biggest trends in the market. "There are lots of emerging consumers who want a sweeter taste profile, so let's make it good and give it to them," he told Harpers.

Kingsland Wine and Spirit recently announced it was to offer fruit fusion and carbonation capabilities from October this year, and has plans to launch its own label range, possibly under its new Live brand.

"Fusion-based products are growing in the category, and there is definitely more scope for fruit and wine, it is massive and probably the fastest growing trend," Neil Anderson told

Bottling specialists Encirc also confirmed to that they are considering adding blending and sparkling capabilities to its Elton site.