Constellation this week announced it would be rolling out a 5.5% abv Moscato and a 5.7% abv Pink Moscato under the Banrock Station brand. They will go into Tesco stores next month (rsp £4.99) after a successful on-trade debut.
"We want to create a lighter drinking category and this is the first of a number of launches we will have this year," said Claire Griffiths, Constellation VP for brands marketing.
Tom Wallis, VP for sales, added: "I am pretty confident we will see lower-alcohol wine sections in most retailers in the next 12 months."
Retailers have already started making changes. Sainsbury's recently began using in-aisle promotional space to group together some lower-alcohol wines.
"There will be further range developments for quality lower-alcohol wines in Sainsbury's later in 2011," said wine buyer David Peek.
Sales of lower-abv wines have also been growing at Tesco, according to Laura Jewell MW, senior product development manager for wine. Tesco has upped its listings of below-11% abv wines over the past year.
Consumers are far more interested in lower-alcohol wines than they once were, said Adam Wyatt, head of Old World wine brands at importer PLB.
"Our research shows that because consumers are more health-conscious now, they are buying less high-abv wines," he said. "Retailers have already done a lot of research into this themselves, which demonstrates this will be an important category going forward."
Wyatt said Moscato, which is naturally lower in alcohol, was likely to do well because of its naturally sweet flavour. "The British wine-drinking palate tends towards sweet flavours."
Tesco already stocks two Brown Brothers variants a 5.5% abv Moscato and a 7% abv Moscato Rosa and a 6.5% abv own-label Moscato Spumante NV.
"These wines sell well within their categories, although they make up a small percentage of our overall sales," noted Jewell.