Marks & Spencer takes on two lower alcohol NZ wines

New Zealand Lighter Wines, an initiative to produce naturally lower in alcohol wines, has revealed two new launches in Marks & Spencer.

The new 9.5% abv own-label Sauvignon Blanc and Rose offerings, which will be priced £10.99 each, are part of the latest lighter wine vintages to emerge from New Zealand. The newcomers come just four years into the seven-year research and development programme, NZ Lighter Wines, which aims to create naturally lighter wines without resorting to alcohol extraction techniques used by other low alcohol wine producers.

Both wines have been produced naturally, using sustainable viticulture techniques that help to slow the natural ripening process in the vineyard. The activity means grapes can be picked at full ripeness but with less sugar; this delivers “varietally expressive, full-flavoured wines with less alcohol than their conventional counterparts”, according to the producer.

Eighteen New Zealand premium wine companies are taking part in the £8.7million NZ Lighter Wines research and development initiative, led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers, said: “Securing these new listings with Marks & Spencer is the latest milestone in our goal to become the global ‘go to’ country for premium lighter wines that are produced totally naturally and without the need for alcohol extraction.

“This is further proof that we are providing the holy grail that many retailers and their customers are looking for – to offer top quality wines at lower abvs without compromising on traditional winemaking techniques.”

The NZ Lighter Wines appearing in Marks & Spencer are made by Forrest Wines in Marlborough, where Dr John Forrest is a pioneer in this field.

He said: “We are well ahead of other lower alcohol production methods. And lower alcohol wines are now winning medals in open class competitions up against standard wines.”

Other wine companies involved in the programme include Accolade Wines, Allan Scot Wines, Constellation Brands, Giesen Wine Estate, Indevin, Kono, Lawson’s Dry Hills, Marisco Vineyards, Mount Riley Wines, Mt Difficulty Wines, Pernod Ricard, Runner Duck Estate, Spy Valley Estate, Villa Maria, Whitehaven Wine Company, Wither Hills and Yealands.

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