suppliers are turning to wine-based cocktails in a bid to bring more shoppers to the wine aisle.

With volume sales of wine down 27 million bottles a year in the off-trade, producers are banking on cocktails to help turn the market around.

Recent activity has included the launch of a range of wine cocktail recipes by Jacob’s Creek and the launch in May of the ready-to-serve Sparkling Collection by Accolade Wines, which has seen five of its six largest UK wine brands decline in volume and value over the past year [Nielsen off-trade 52 w/e 28 April 2012].

Accolade’s Sparkling Collection includes the 5.5% abv Hardys Strawberry & White Peach Bellinis and Banrock Infusions (rsp: £1.85/250ml can).

“We believe the market for wine-based ready-to-serve offerings could be one-third the size of the current spirits ready-to-serve market,” said Accolade Wines European general manager James Lousada.

The Jacob’s Creek wine cocktails recipes initiative was predominantly targeted at the on-trade, but Pernod Ricard wine marketing head Lucy Bearman said it was based on a growing trend for still wine cocktails that was also relevant to retail. “We will continue to look at opportunities to bring the still wine cocktail concept to consumers and the wider off-trade,” she said.

In the US, Steven Grasse - the man behind Sailor Jerry rum and Hendrick’s gin - has launched a 36% proof (18% abv) wine designed to be mixed like a spirit.

Spodee is inspired by Depression-era hooch, and is packaged in a milk bottle sealed with a cork. It can be drunk neat, on the rocks or as a mixer.

Currently only available in the US (rsp: £5.75/500ml $8.99), brand owner Quaker City Mercantile said it was planning to take Spodee overseas.