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Wednesday 7 July 2021

Spinning around: Major investment in alcohol-free wine research

 I am yet to come across an alcohol-free wine that actually tastes like real wine. 

Too many taste as if they have simply been diluted with water. Harsh but fair. Won't get fooled again. 

Leading New Zealand wine company Giesen Group is, however, taking the non-alcohol wine category seriously, investing over a million dollars in their own specialised spinning cone technology to further refine the Giesen 0% wine range. 

It is hoped the investment will signal continued improvements in the quality of the current 0% Sauvignon Blanc, as well as new Pinot Gris and Rosé blends set for release in Australia in September.

The splurge is in response to the growing demand for the category, with research showing that Australians have a higher intent to purchase low- and no-alcohol products compared to the UK, USA and Canada. 

Younger consumers are also more likely to purchase a non-alcoholic wine with three out of 10 consumers aged between 18 to 34 basing their purchase on health and wellbeing, according to recent research. 

The main barrier for consumers considering lower alcohol wines is the perception they are "not really wine". True that. 

Giesen Group chief winemaker Duncan Shouler says: “To ensure we create the best 0% wines in market, we go through the entire winemaking process just as we would for a full-strength wine - from growing grapes for a year in the vineyard, to picking and processing the wine in the winery. 

"So to say that it is ‘not really wine’ is untrue in every sense.

“To make 0% we include the additional process of putting our full-strength wine through spinning cone distillation to gently remove the alcohol component. Making 0% alcohol is actually more expensive to produce compared to its full-strength counterpart and it is our absolute goal to produce 0% wines that actually taste like wine and not like grape juice, and with as low calories as possible.

“Having our own spinning cone allows us to increase production levels and really help drive quality. Firstly, we can be experimental and continually improve our 0% alcohol wine offerings, to meet consumer taste profiles. 

"I would say that now we are seeing better and better alcohol-removed wines every time we produce them.” 

When Giesen launched their 0% Sauvignon Blanc** last year, its sell-out releases in Australia and New Zealand proved consumer interest in this category was worth pursuing, the company decided. 

The Group also launched Ara Zero Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in September 2020, which is sold via independent retailers and on premise. 

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