E&J Gallo has created two lighter and low-alcohol ranges as it looks to woo consumers intimidated by wine.

Gallo Family Vineyards Spritz (rsp: £5.99), which launches in May and was devised for the UK market, is a 5.5% abv lightly sparkling fruit-flavoured wine drink that comes in two flavours: passionfruit & pineapple with a pinot grigio base, and raspberry & lime with a grenache rosé base.

Barefoot Refresh (rsp: £6.99), which Gallo claimed had been the biggest launch in the US wine market in the past decade, is a range of sparkling wines at the lower end of standard alcohol content. It comes in crisp white (9% abv), perfectly pink (9% abv) and crisp red (10% abv), and is available now in Tesco.

Gallo said Spritz had been developed to appeal to females aged 22 to 30, who “seek the sophistication of wine but who are not in love with the taste”, while Refresh was aimed at existing wine drinkers seeking a more refreshing beverage for occasions such as barbeques and picnics.

Many drinkers found wine too formal and its taste too alcoholic, said Gallo VP and general manager for EMEA Bill Roberts. “There’s still a barrier to wine,” he added. “There’s still a perception that wine as a category is not always accessible.”

Spritz would break down the barrier that existed for many consumers when trying to engage with the wine category, said marketing manager Alexis Byron. “Our quantitative consumer research resulted in a 70% purchase intent based on their experience of the blends, indicating there is a strong appetite for Gallo Family Vineyards Spritz and these styles of wine.”

Barefoot Wine assistant marketing manager Samantha Caulfield said Refresh was targeted at wine consumers who would normally switch to beer or cider when seeking refreshment. “Through Barefoot Refresh’s unique proposition as a refreshing and flavourful wine, the opportunity is to grow the category by expanding wine drinking occasions,” she added.

Gallo is investing £1m in a launch campaign for Spritz that will include press advertising, sampling events, PR and social media.

It will hope this is enough to generate interest in a category that has failed to capture the imagination of UK consumers. No- and low-alcohol wine volumes fell 5.9% last year, while value sales were flat at £37.6m – less than 0.7% of the entire still wine category.

The company also announced a full UK rollout of its vodka brand, New Amsterdam, which has become the third biggest vodka in the US after just four years on the market. New Amsterdam launched to the on trade and independent retailers last year, and Gallo plans to have the product in multiples by late summer. With an rsp of £14.99, the drink has a similar price point to market leader Smirnoff.

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