DISCOVER WHY NEW ZEALAND IS LEADING
THE WORLD IN LIGHTER IN ALCOHOL WINES
New Zealand. A blessed country on the edge of the world. Covered in natural beauty unmatched anywhere. And it’s here in this crystal clear, cool, maritime climate we find the best place on earth to create full flavoured, lighter in alcohol wines. Years of trials and testing by expert winemakers in vineyards around New Zealand have allowed us to master the art of growing cooler climate, slow ripening grapes boasting full flavours and less natural grape sugar to ferment into alcohol. The resulting wines are not only of the very highest quality, they’re also lighter in alcohol. So you don’t have to give up what New Zealand wine is famous for. It’s the art of New Zealand winemaking at its most enlightened, delicious best.
There are times we all want to moderate our alcohol consumption. It may be to support other positive changes you are making to your lifestyle; perhaps because you want to remain sharper and more in control; or it might be simply because you have other things you need to do afterwards.
With these more moderate consumption occasions in mind, NZ Lighter wines are perfectly matched for you. Our grapes are grown in a cool, maritime climate and slow-ripened to produce full-flavoured wine with more than 25% less alcohol compared to an equivalent full strength wine. This means you can enjoy a glass without giving up what New Zealand wine is famous for – premium quality, varietally expressive wines.
Our wines are judged in open class wine competitions that include full strength wines and are regularly awarded medals and trophies.
The NZ Lighter wines initiative was the product of a significant New Zealand research and development programme led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded under the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).
The largest research programme ever undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry, the initiative was focused on understanding how best to produce and market lighter-in-alcohol wines, defined as “wines containing less than 10% alcohol by volume”, and “overtly marketed as lower or reduced in alcohol”. We effectively helped to create a new and exciting category of wine catering to the growing number of consumers, who on specific occasions, wish to moderate their consumption of alcohol and still enjoy a glass of premium New Zealand wine.
The challenge set was to learn how to successfully reduce alcohol content without compromising the fabulous flavours and varietal expression that we all love about New Zealand wine.
Like all great challenges, we needed people willing to back us, therefore NZ Lighter wines gratefully acknowledges the support of:
Back in about 2008 some pioneering New Zealand wineries identified the opportunity to create premium wines with lower alcohol levels in the styles that had been successful for New Zealand in many export markets. These companies quickly learnt that there were many challenges to this initiative, and to be successful required new grape growing and winemaking approaches. This formed the framework for a $17-million seven year R&D programme commencing in 2014 with the goal of achieving global leadership by the 2020’s in the production and marketing of premium quality, lighter-in-alcohol wines.
With contributions from industry levies and direct investment by 18 participating New Zealand wine companies, the programme focused on all aspects of lighter-in-alcohol wines, covering everything from sustainable vineyard and winemaking practices, to sensory assessment, to consumer research and market access.
The NZ Lighter wines programme officially ended on December 31, 2020. We now aim to continue to deliver innovative, premium and sustainable lower alcohol wines that support drinking more responsibly and moderately as part of a healthier and more mindful modern lifestyle.
The 18 New Zealand wine companies that participated in this innovative industry initiative were:
Accolade Wines, Allan Scott Family Winemakers, Constellation Brands, Forrest, Giesen, Indevin, Kono, Lawson’s Dry Hills, Marisco Vineyards, Mount Riley, Mt Difficulty, Pernod Ricard, Runner Duck Estate, Spy Valley Wines, Villa Maria, Whitehaven, Wither Hills/Lion Co, and Yealands Wines.
We thank them for their support and ongoing commitment to the development of this exciting and dynamic category.