Tesco introduces low alcohol wine range

Tesco's new low alcohol wine range. Pic: Tesco.

Supermarket giant Tesco has launched a range of low alcohol wines in the UK, responding to an 18% decline in alcohol consumption over the last decade. 

Its range of wines are nearly alcohol free – at less than 0.5% ABV – and are ‘virtually indistinguishable in terms of taste from their alcoholic counterparts’, according to Tesco. It says the range is the first of its kind to be sold in a supermarket.

It aims to offer customers a comparable alternative to popular varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache rose and Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Tesco Low Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc £3.00 (75cl): a ‘light and citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, perfect with seafood and fish’.
  • Tesco Low Alcohol Cabernet Tempranillo £3.00 (75cl). a medium red, ‘spicy and smooth and great with cold meats and cheeses’.
  • Tesco Low Alcohol Garnacha-Rosé £3.00 (75cl). a rosé that makes ‘a sophisticated alternative to soft drinks’.

Decline in alcohol consumption

James Davis, Tesco’s Master of Wine, notes an increasing number of consumers who want to enjoy the social aspects of drinking, as well as a quality wine experience, but without alcohol.

“The wines have been developed in partnership with leading international wine producers Felix Solis, and use a new innovative spinning cone technique that gently removes the alcohol, without sacrificing the aroma, quality and flavor profile of the wine,” said Davis.

UK drinking statistics
  • The proportion of adults who said they drink alcohol is at its lowest level since 2005
  • In 2016, of all people 20.9% (around 10.6 million people in the population) said that they did not drink alcohol.
  • Men are more likely to be drinkers than women

Source: Office for National Statistics, Adult drinking habits in Great Britain 2005-2016.

“Until now, most non-alcoholic wines have been fermented until they reach the point where they are about to turn alcoholic, so the liquid never actually becomes wine, or have the alcohol removed to be replaced with a number of sugars and artificial flavors to bring back the flavors lost through the process.”

The wines will be available in 700 UK stores as well as online, each priced at £3 ($3.78).

In stores, Tesco offers a dedicated area to beers, wines and spirits with an ABV under 0.5%, an initiative that was launched in March.  

Low and no alcohol beers and ciders also continue to gain traction, with products such as BrewDog’s Nanny State (alcohol free hoppy ale) among Tesco’s selection. 

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