Family-owned Kiwi winery Giesen launches the world’s first alcohol-removed Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The landmark innovation will allow discerning Sauvignon Blanc consumers around the world to enjoy a glass of New Zealand’s popular and distinctive grape varietal on any occasion while moderating their alcohol intake.
Over the last two decades, a ‘sober-curious’ trend has swept the globe as more people swap full-strength wine, beer and spirits for low or no-alcohol counterparts. This trend will continue to rise, with the European Zero Alcohol Drinks 2019 Report predicting global sales to grow 10% each year over the next five years.
Currently the country’s top wine export, Sauvignon Blanc made up 86%, or an estimated NZD$1.5 billion, of the total wine exports in 2019. Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region is especially sought after, as it is globally renowned for its quality and distinctive taste. While there have been growing numbers of alcohol-free wines new to market in recent months, Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is the first from NZ’s famous wine-producing region.
Unlike other no-alcohol varieties on the market, Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc goes through the exact same winemaking process as the full-strength variety, beginning with Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in Giesen’s vineyards across Marlborough.
To produce a no-alcohol wine, the Giesen winemakers use an innovative spinning cone technology - popular in perfume making - which separates the fragrance and alcohol from the wine. Once the alcohol is removed, the distinctive distilled aroma unique to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is added back into the wine.
This advanced form of distillation allows Giesen to handle the wine gently, maintaining the integrity of both the delicate flavour palate and texture throughout the process. The removal of the alcohol also gives Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc its own unique taste profile. While varietally expressive, it is much lighter than its full-strength counterpart and boasts citrus flavours with blackcurrant and passionfruit notes.
As part of the NZ Lighter wine initiative, Giesen believes the no-alcohol segment of lighter wines will become a significant part of the Lighter wine category.
“There is a growing trend towards non- alcoholic drinks and sales around the world are growing rapidly as consumers look to reduce their alcohol intake for a wide variety of reasons," said Giesen Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George.
“Boozy long lunches are becoming a thing of a past - from the rise of mindful drinking to people looking for a lighter drop in the evening after an exercise class, the low and no-alcohol trend is on the cusp of mainstream. We are excited about this innovation and what it means for our export markets. To be able to bring Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc lovers around the world a 0% version of their favourite varietal is huge.”
The wine industry is New Zealand’s seventh largest export sector, worth more than $1.8 billion per year to the economy. Worldwide, people are drawn to Aotearoa’s Sauvignon Blanc, which tops the charts as the leading export earner according to the New Zealand Winegrowers’ 2019 Annual Report.
Giesen is a locally-owned, family-operated winery entrenched in the Marlborough wine industry, with four decades of experience operating in the region. Constantly driving innovation, Giesen boasts a strong range of wine, including organic and lighter alcohol wine. Giesen’s history, expertise and international recognition makes it the only winery to lead New Zealand in the world’s first alcohol-removed Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
“This innovation has been a year in the making and we will never compromise on quality. Our customers demand and expect the very best - that is why we have taken extraordinary care in developing our Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, ensuring our customers experience the premium taste and quality that they expect from Giesen wines on any occasion.
“We strongly believe the integrity of this sees Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc as the very best alcohol-removed Sauvignon Blanc available on the market and we are confident our customers will agree,” said St George.
NZ wine critic and Master of Wine, Bob Campbell blind taste-tested the new Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc against two other no-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc wines, saying: “This is a giant leap forward for 0% alcohol Sauvignon Blanc. The new Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc tasted like a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with pronounced passion fruit and red capsicum flavours. It’s slightly sweet but dry with a pleasing sweet/sour tension. This was my favourite out of the three. I’d very happily drink it,” said Campbell.
“An added bonus is that Giesen 0% - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is super low in calories, with a 125ml glass containing 85% fewer calories than a full-strength wine,” said St George.