Gratien and Meyer ventures into alcohol-free sparkling wine

Thursday May 30 2019 by Vitisphere

 At less than 0.2° ABV, Infini Bulle is produced by a triple vacuum distillation (to lower the boiling temperature and preserve the aromas). Festillant is produced in Germany by Henkell using the same technique. At less than 0.2° ABV, Infini Bulle is produced by a triple vacuum distillation (to lower the boiling temperature and preserve the aromas). Festillant is produced in Germany by Henkell using the same technique.

Already the second-largest player in the de-alcoholised sparkling wine market in France with its Festillant label (1.5 million bottles), the Loire wine firm Gratien et Meyer is launching a new wine that will join its traditional ranges (including Crémant de Loire and Saumur). Alcohol-free Infini Bulle is designed as a traditional wine product through its packaging which targets regular drinkers who cannot/don’t want conventional drinks at specific times. “Research shows that consumers want less childish packaging for non-alcoholic products. They want festive occasions, in the same vein as when they drink sparkling wines with alcohol”, commented Frédérique Lenoir, marketing and external communications director with the French subsidiary of the Henkell group and Freixenet.

Listings in supermarkets

Launched at Vinexpo Bordeaux, and already listed by Leclerc's Scarnomande platform, Infini Bulle targets the French market. Output totals 40,000 bottles and the recommended retail price tag is 4.50 euros/bottle, compared to €3.30 for Festillant. From now on, “the challenge is to position our product in the sparkling wine section. In our opinion, it is more akin to drinking occasions for wines than soft drinks”, said Joaquin Costa, Henkell Freixenet France's managing director.

More growth than Prosecco

The non-alcoholic sparkling wine segment is bullish, claimed Frédérique Lenoir. In recent times, the non-alcoholic category has seen the strongest growth in sparkling wines: +6.4% according to the IRI supermarket distribution panel for the first four months of 2019. “This is a higher growth rate than for Prosecco, which is slowing down at +1.6%, compared to +35% last year”, added Lenoir, who plans to build on this trend with Gratien Meyer's alcohol-free brand.

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