Nice Session WIne

Challenger wine brand Nice has launched a duo of lower abv wines in bottled format.

The 3.4% abv Nice Session Sauvignon Blanc and Nice Session Merlot (rsp: £10/750ml) were inspired by the trend towards session lagers and IPAs in the beer category, Nice said.

It said it had developed the duo to tackle “one of the biggest challenges” to persuading consumers to chose wine: the fact an average 250ml glass of wine is 37% stronger than the average pint of lager.

While other categories such as beer and spirits had “successfully developed low & no abv options that closely mimic the quality of ‘full-strength’ alternatives”, the process of de-alcoholising wine had “a more pronounced adverse effect on flavour, style, aroma and texture”, Nice said.

Nice’s range of ‘session’ wines had been developed for “low-key times, longer sessions, dinner parties that flow, lunches that move into the evening”.

The Session Sauvignon Blanc was “dry, crisp, fresh, with a little wink of tropical citrus”, while the Session Merlot was “juicy, fruity and smooth, with a little flash of spice”.

Initially, the pair would be sold via Nice’s DTC platform. However, the brand said it was eyeing opportunities in grocery after seeing “retailers such as Sainsbury’s introduce a mid-zone in the wine aisle” of 7%-10% abv.

There was “a £150m category opportunity” in developing even lower alcohol wine to compete directly with RTDs and beer, Nice said.

“Moderation of alcohol isn’t new and it isn’t niche,” said Nice co-founder Lucy Busk. “Three out of four UK adults are proactively moderating their alcohol intake – the same as the number of people who consume alcohol at least once per week.

“It’s also not just a gen Z phenomenon, we can see from the data it’s happening across all age groups. That’s why we created session wine, to offer consumers more choice.”

In October, actor, entrepreneur and businesswoman Sarah Jessica Parker launched her range of lower alcohol wines – developed with New Zealand winemaker Invivo – to the UK.

The Sevenly range of lower alcohol (7%) and lower calorie (54 calories per 125ml glass) wines are sold nationally in Sainsbury’s (rsp: £8/750ml).