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Two New Zealand Lighter Wines launch at M&S

The New Zealand Lighter Wines project has continued with two launches at Marks & Spencer.

On sale now, the new 9.5% ABV own label Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé offerings, RRP £10.99, are part of the latest lighter wine vintages to emerge from New Zealand. The new offerings come four years into the seven-year research and development programme, NZ Lighter Wines, which aims to create naturally lighter wines without resorting to the alcohol extraction techniques used by other low alcohol wine producers.

18 leading New Zealand premium wine companies are taking part in the NZ$17million (£8.7m) NZ Lighter Wines research and development initiative, led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

Celebrating the new UK launches, Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers explains: “Securing these new listings with Marks & Spencer is the latest milestone in our goal to become the global ‘go to’ country for premium lighter wines that are produced totally naturally and without the need for alcohol extraction.

“This is further proof that we are providing the holy grail that many retailers and their customers are looking for – to offer top quality wines at lower abvs without compromising on traditional winemaking techniques.

The NZ Lighter Wines appearing in Marks & Spencer are made by Forrest Wines in Marlborough. He cites alternative winemaking techniques and careful grape selection as key to the “startling progress” made by the New Zealand wine industry in the lighter wine category.

“We are well ahead of other lower alcohol production methods,” explains Dr Forrest, “and lower alcohol wines are now winning medals in open class competitions up against standard wines.”

11 May 2018 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor