Blue Nun has delayed the launch of its eagerly awaited RTD.

Wine-based Slinky was due to hit shelves in June but will now not make its debut until next January at the earliest.

Langguth, the wine brand’s German owner, claimed it had decided to postpone the launch because of the RTD sector’s ailing health.

It is a remarkable u-turn for the company which announced plans for Slinky amid much fanfare as early as April this year.

However, at the time buyers warned that tough market conditions, accelerated by a 4p duty hike in the annual Budget, would hamper the innovation.

Bearing out these concerns, the company’s marketing director, Armin Wagner, admitted the initial timing of Slinky’s launch had been premature. “At present the RTD category is in a difficult position and we were not keen to launch into it. We want things to settle down and then make a fresh approach in the new year.”

He said advertising to support the brand was planned for 2004.

Langguth has taken a similar decision to pull back the launch of the 5.5% abv drink across the rest of Europe amid slowing RTD sales across the continent.

Since the company revealed its intentions to launch the wine-based RTD rivals Bacardi-Martini and Scottish Courage have both rolled out spritzer-style brands. However, Wagner denied that concerns over competing against other similar RTDs were a factor in Slinky’s delay.