French firm targets ‘soda generation’ with cola-flavored wine

By Fiona Barry

- Last updated on GMT

French firm targets ‘soda generation’ with cola-flavored wine

Related tags: Wine, Alcoholic beverage

French wine company Haussmann Famille has launched the world’s first cola-flavoured wine, named Rouge Sucette, and hopes to appeal to the ‘soda generation’ of young people unaccustomed to wine.

Rouge Sucette means ‘red lollipop’ in French, and the red wine – launched at last week’s VinExpo – is made from 75% grapes, in addition to water, sugar and cola flavorings. The 9% ABV wine is designed to be served chilled.

The makers hope to capitalize on the boom in aromatized wines in France, with flavored wine estimated to have sold 3m bottles in 2011, rising to 13-15m in 2012. Sales predictions for this year are expected to more than double again, to 30-40m bottles.

The cola wine is currently stocked in French supermarkets, at €2.95 ($3.86) per bottle. Haussman Famille says that Rouge Sucette attracted interest from UK retailers at Vinexpo, and that they are in talks to sell the wine overseas.

Targeting young adults and women

Haussman Famille’s marketing director Pauline Lacombe told Beverage Daily that the product would appeal to the ‘soda generation’ of young people who are not accustomed to drinking wine.

 “The target of this product is young adults and women​,” said Lacombe. “Young adults all now drink Coke – the palate is used to that flavor.

It’s the soda generation. They are not used to drinking wine. They go from Coke, Sprite and those kinds of drinks, to strong alcohol like vodka and whiskey, which they mix with orange juice or cola.”

Presently, the most popular aromatized flavor in France is grapefruit rosé, and Lacombe said Haussman avoided entering the market with the same type of product when it launched its ‘Sucette’ line in April 2013.

The first wine in the company’s ‘Sucette’ line was a passion fruit rosé, followed by a passion fruit-aromatized white and eventually a grapefruit rosé. The cola-flavored wine is the fourth Sucette creation and was launched at Vinexpo on June 19.

Appeal to underage drinkers?

The ‘Sucette’ wines aim to be seen as superior to existing aromatized wines, Lacombe explained. The objective was to be “different from the competition​” and “better quality​”, so “we worked a lot on the packaging, the aroma, and the quality of the recipe,”​ she said.

Haussman Famille worked with Laffort, an oenology laboratory in Bordeaux, to extract flavoring from the coca flower.

The result, Lacombe said, is “like a candy when you drink it. The balance is just perfect​”.

When asked if the company worries that the cola-flavored wine might appeal to underage drinkers, Lacombe was clear that “that’s not the goal of the product​” and stressed that the bottles include a standard warning label about alcohol content.

But “don’t leave it in the fridge with [children] who don’t know what it is,​” she advised.

Haussmann Famille admits that its researchers are developing a new flavor, but are keeping it close to their chests: “We are working on that. It’s still a secret,”​ Lacombe said.

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