Could session wine take off?

Session beer may have been around for centuries, but as demand for low- and no-alcohol drinks continues to climb, could session wine be the next big thing?

Could session wine take off?

As the story goes, in the times of Shakespeare and even Chaucer, when water was unsafe and unpleasant to drink, low-strength beer was consumed across homes, workplaces and even schools across the country.

Its long history has survived, and session beer is common on labels for different brews.

Session beer has two key attributes; the first of which is its lower ABV. Unlike other beer styles, flavour and aroma are not what define a session beer, the alcohol level of which should not exceed 5%, according to Craftbeer.com.

Growth of the no- and low-alcohol category has spurred the rise of more low-strength beers and breweries in recent years.

Now, as wine consumption in the UK and Europe continues to decline, wine brand Nice has launched a ‘session wine’, with a lower ABV of 3.4%.

“Moderation of alcohol isn’t new, and it isn’t niche. 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 that it’s happening across all age groups. That’s why we created Session wine, to offer consumers more choice,” said Lucy Busk, co-founder of Nice.

Session wine is launching in January 2024, available on the Nice website (£10) and to the on-trade in 75cl bottles. Nice has produced a Session Sauvignon Blanc and Session Merlot, with each glass containing a third of the alcohol of a standard glass of wine.

The brand argued that while retailers including the likes of Sainsbury’s have introduced a mid-zone in the wine aisle (7-10% ABV), there remain very few ‘sessionable’ options available at an alcohol level which can compete with RTDs and session beer.

Session beer is categorised by its lower ABV, but also by its drinkability. Nice claims that its session wines have been developed “to taste like a full-strength wine”. db reported last year that the value of no- and low-alcohol category surpasses US$11 billion in 2022, and it remains to be seen how low-strength wine will fit into the category.

This article originally appeared on the drinks business.

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