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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, October 05 2009. 13:19

UK Split on Low Alcohol Wines

Nearly half of UK wine drinkers believe in what Indian Wine Academy has been advocating for the past four years, by responding in the latest survey in which they said that they would buy a wine with an alcohol level of around 9%  provided that taste is not compromised.

About 42% of the 800 wine drinkers surveyed said they would 'definitely' or 'probably' buy a 9% abv wine; while 59% of all respondents claimed they liked the concept of such a wine.

The survey was commissioned by UK agent and importer PLB, and US-based TFC Wines and Spirits, which specializes in lower-alcohol wines, with the results released at a lower-alcohol forum organised by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) in London on October 1.

One only hopes that the results are not doctored as PLB is associated with marketing of low alcohol wines and that the confidence level of the statistics is high. The other- half, the bold and powerful wine lovers, would love to question the validity.

The subject being dear to our heart, delWine had written about the seminar and the organisers had consented to delWine of handing out invitation to anyone who desired to participate, though it was meant for the WSTA members. For details, click

DelWine had also requested the organisers to make available the comprehensive information on the proceedings of the morning which was to be chaired by Jancis Robinson MW. Awaiting that, we are happy that Decanter has published the mini report. Both delWine and Indian Wine Academy are strong proponents of low alcohol wines, primarily because of health reasons as they advocate moderate drinking; believers in the higher alcohol being harmful for liver, blood pressure, cancer and with a lot of other negative effects.

For wine drinkers, a full bodied, powerful, high alcohol drink means they don’t enjoy drinking after a glass or two, as much.

TFC winemaker David Stevens described lower-alcohol wines as the 'last unconquered frontier' of the wine industry according to the report.

All speakers at the event highlighted the need to tighten up wine labelling laws, and called on the EU to draw up definitions for terms such as 'lower alcohol' and 'reduced alcohol', which currently do not exist.

Jeremy Beadles, CEO of WSTA added that wines sold in the UK should not be marketed on the basis of their alcohol strength. Moreover, wines above 12% abv should not be allowed to 'bear health claims'.

Under current EU legislation, with a few exceptions, such as German Prädikatsweins like the Mosel Rieslings and Italian off-dry Moscato – the minimum permitted alcohol level of wine is 8.5% abv, with a maximum of 15%, and winemakers are only allowed to reduce alcohol by 2% from their original level.

Dan Jago, UK beer, wine and spirits director at Tesco, believed that some consumers were put off by the 'Frankenstein's monster' element of wines that have their alcohol levels modified.

Incidentally, on a similar note, Torres has done some work in the area of producing 0.5% alcohol wines, but the issue has not been apparently raised for the export of such wines within EU as the company is initially producing for the domestic market. For a certain category of people the wine should find a good interest, as reported in our earlier article in delWine no. 243 reported on August 16, 2008


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