Riverina winery McWilliam's has entered the alcohol-removed wine category with the return of its decade-old brand Balance. The two new zero standard drink wine releases include the Balance Alcohol Removed Sauvignon Blanc 2022, and Balance Alcohol Removed Shiraz 2021, to be available to select independent retailers and the McWilliam's Wines website this month.
McWilliam's was ahead of its time with the release of Balance in 2010. The range included a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz with lower kilojoules and low alcohol, giving it the tick of approval and endorsement by Weight Watchers.
Today, McWilliam's is joining the wave of health-minded producers keen to allow drinkers to enjoy full-flavoured wines while being conscious of their alcohol consumption.
"McWilliam's Balance was ahead of its time over ten years ago. Back then, the no and low alcohol category was not as exciting as today. While we had the support of Weight Watchers, there simply wasn't the demand in the Australian market for wines with lower alcohol," Carrah Lymer, Brand Manager for McWilliam's Wines said.
"Step forward ten years later, and the innovations in removing alcohol in wine production have improved dramatically. Our winemakers can now impart wine-like characteristics to wines with little to zero traces of alcohol while still giving drinkers a full-flavoured experience to enjoy with friends or over a meal. We're excited to bring back Balance and have McWilliam's join the booming no and low alcohol category."
The wine follows the same column extraction method as most alcohol-removed wines currently on the shelf. This process separates the wine into three components: wine with alcohol and aroma removed, alcohol, and aroma (which contains traces of alcohol - meaning a label declaration being <0.5%).
After gentle separation, the winemakers blend the aromas into the zero alcohol base, adding grape juice to raise the palate. The wine is carbonated to a light spritz at bottling to add a further layer of mouthfeel and lift the aroma profile.
No- and low-alcohol products are becoming far more approachable for consumers as they increasingly become more accepted as a lifestyle and societal norm. According to IWSR figures, no/low products accounted for a 3.5% volume share of beverage alcohol in ten key markets in 2021, including Australia, following a 6%-plus increase in consumption.
In addition to being zero standard drinks, the new McWilliam's Balance is sustainably minded. The wines are vegan-friendly and packaged in lightweight bottles to reduce emissions during transport and utilise recycled paper material across their packaging.
The label design is a modern evolution of the original Balance packaging, with a colourful geometric 'B' as the focal design feature, McWilliam's branding, and 'vegan-friendly' and 'zero standard drinks' callouts in a bronze foil.
In launching the range to market, McWilliam's creative direction will appeal to the health-conscious and Gen Y consumers with fun, active lifestyle imagery, a social influencer campaign and branded POS materials featuring a 'Bring Back The Balance' message.
McWilliam's Balance Wine is available now to select independent retail customers and through www.mcwilliams.com.au