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New 8.5% abv wine set for pubs

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new wine brand with an alcohol level of 8.5% by volume is to hit pubs in mid-April, and is likely to herald the emergence of a mid-strength wine category in the UK.

Details on the wine are rather sketchy, but it is produced from Spanish grapes and distributed by a medium-sized on-trade specialist, with the help of ConeTech, a company in the US that specialises in the reduction of alcohol in wines.

According to Scott Burr, chief operating officer at ConeTech, the new product will be a little higher in alcohol than beer, but lower than most wines. This is an area that we believe has so far been completely overlooked.'

The new wine, aimed at women drinkers, will contain a slight spritz and will be packaged in single-serve bottles, although the distributor intends to bring out 75cl bottle sizes.

According to Burr: In six months, the whole category is going to explode, and not just in pubs. There are many, many trials taking place in UK supermarkets at present. Their customers have been demanding less alcohol because after a few glasses they feel like they've drunk a whole bottle.'

And Sue Daniel, wine technologist at Marks & Spencer, admitted: We will be trying to source more wines at 12% alcohol in future, rather than those with 14% alcohol.'

ConeTech's Spinning Cone means that alcohol can be low in wine, without the grapes that are used being under-ripe. This allows you to get lots of fruit, but not the 16% alcohol as happened in the past,' said Burr.

Burr's clients send 10% of their wine for an alcohol reduction to ConeTech headquarters in Santa Rosa. The flavour is taken out, then the alcohol, and then all the flavour compounds and alcohol at around 4% abv are added back. The Cone spins the wine to create a thin film, from which water or alcohol can be removed separately because of their differing molecular size.