Can orange wine, pét nat and sparkling rosé tempt wine consumers out of their comfort zones?

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: getty/fikmik
Pic: getty/fikmik

Related tags Wine Uk Bag-In-Box rose wine Sparkling wine United kingdom

British consumers are reluctant to try something new in wine, according to fresh research from M&S Food. But its research also identifies categories with growth potential that could tempt consumers and reinvigorate their interest in wine…

Britain has gone ‘from a nation of wine buffs to wine bluffs’, according to the food retailer, with only one in five knowing what terms like ‘tannins’, ‘terroir’, and ‘oaked’ mean.

The result? Shoppers stick to what they know and like. How can brands and retailers tempt them out of their comfort zone? 

Ready to roar: rosé

Rosé wine is a safe bet with Brits over the summer, and has seen a ‘massive surge’ in popularity in recent years.

Last summer, a bottle of rose was sold every two seconds in M&S aisles alone.  

rose getty jonathan knowles
Sparkling rose wins with consumers. Pic:getty/johnathanknowles

Sparkling rosé was crowned as the country’s most popular type of pink drink.

But it’s also a drink that consumers know little about: and its potential could be much higher.

Half of Brits are drinking rose at the wrong temperature: either above or below the ideal 7-13 degrees C.

“Serving wine too cold can mute its fruity flavors and hide some aromas,” said M&S winemaker Belinda Kleinig.

“While serving it too warm can make it seem dull and less fresh.”

M&S’s research showed that twice as many consumers opt for dry, pale Provence-style roses over darker styles of rose from regions like California, Portugal or Anjou (France).

While paler rose wines are popular for being light and refreshing with delicate flavors, M&S recommends highlighting the whole world of medium-pink, darker and even sweeter roses which can be extremely versatile when pairing with stronger flavored cuisines.

Unsurprisingly, rose is very much considered as a summer drink: in fact, less than half of Brits deem it ‘acceptable’ to drink rose in winter.

M&S recommends highlighting the versatility of darker and sweeter styles for cosy autumnal suppers and festive dinner parties; as well as the potential to use rose in cocktails.

'Orange is the new white!'

Wine warriors - or wine worriers?

The research highlights that shoppers are reluctant to try something new.

40% of customers say they always stick to wines they know, while only 1 in 6 say they regularly buy new wines they haven’t tried before.

In its report ‘#WineWorries ‘Mythbusting’, M&S notes there are misconceptions about wine that need to be addressed to help the category move forward.

Searches for orange wine on Ocado were up 99% over the past 12 months. But despite this, more than two-thirds of people haven’t heard of it.

And out of those who have heard of it, only a third have actually tried it.

There’s also a lot of misconceptions – 8% of people believe orange wine is a type of wine fortified with orange liqueur.

The wine is actually made from white grapes that are fermented with their skins still on, just like when making red wine.

"This gives it a beautiful amber color and a unique flavor that’s a bit richer and more complex than regular white wine - a great choice for anyone looking to try something different and exciting," said M&S senior wine buyer Joseph Arthur.

Innovative formats

bag in box getty vvoevale
Many consumers haven't tried bag-in-box. Pic:getty/vvoevale

Traditional glass wine bottles still dominate, but innovative formats like cans, bag-in-box and pouches are gradually making their mark.

However, ‘gradually’ is the key word.

Only a third of shoppers consider these formats have the same quality wine as from a traditional bottle.

In fact, only 28% have tried wine from a pouch; while canned wine just hasn't seen the same success in the UK as it has in the US.

Highlighting the potential of convenient formats at BBQs, picnics and outdoor occasions could help win consumers over, says M&S. 

Pét Nat

Pét Nat is short for ‘Pétillant Naturel’ – French for ‘naturally bubbly’.

This is a delicate, unfiltered sparkling wine made using an ancient method where yeast is left in the bottle after fermentation.

As a technique rather than a style of wine, the flavor of the wine can vary enormously, but the gentle, refreshing fizz and fruit-forward-flavors characterize the category

“Pét Nat offers a great alternative to traditional sparkling wines for those seeking to expand their wine repertoire,” notes M&S.

However, only 29% of people will drink a cloudy wine, even though sediment is completely harmless and can even add interesting complex flavors to the wine.

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