Origin Wines aims to win over millennials with innovation

Origin Wines aims to use craft wine, fruit wine, small formats and interesting bottles to demystify wine, attract millennials and reinvigorate the market.

The producer fears that UK wine sales will continue to dwindle unless the industry makes wine less intimidating and more fun and innovative. 

Founder Bernard Fontannaz told OLN: “Wine people think too much like wine people. We need to talk a different language to millennials. 

“We are at risk because we have a consumer base that’s ageing. That’s a challenge.”

He said he is amazed to see wine critics looking down with snobbery on innovations when they are not the target market, and wants to see more open-mindedness. “If it’s a well-made product it’s good. You might not like the taste but you aren’t the target. We should be trying to reach as many people as possible and interact with them. They might buy Sancerre or Chablis 10 years down the line.

“Fruit wine is the best because it interacts with people who like the flavour, and down the line they will change their taste profiles to come to something more vinous and less sweet. If you don’t get them, they will go to spirits and beers.”

Small formats can help to demystify wine, according to Fontannaz, as they make trial easier, but he feels “the sky is the limit” when it comes to packaging. “Innovation in wine is often changing the vintage or the colour of the label,” he said. “We are not using enough different types of bottle. 

“If you look at spirits, or perfume, what they are doing is so much better. A wall of wine is intimidating for anybody. If something stands out and makes them smile, it’s priceless. In spirits not one bottle is the same. There’s diversity and nobody questions the quality of the product itself. 

“Why can’t we do that in wine? Why are we stuck with a claret or Burgundy bottle? Wine could be funky and fun. The wine has to be good quality. That goes without saying. But we have to enhance the experience and that’s why packaging and formats are important.”

Origin recently gained a listing at Aldi for its “craft wine” and Fontannaz said buyers understand the craft movement and some are bold enough to experiment. “Look at what craft beer has done for the beer world – it’s amazing. A lot of youngsters swear by craft beer. It’s a strong movement. We don’t have that in wine. Wine doesn’t have to be complex and have all these cues. We can demystify it. People can drink it as they want. All that matters is you enjoy it. If we do that we will gain traction.”

The Craft & Origin Organic range comes in 50cl bottles that look nothing like traditional wine bottles and Aldi wine  buying director Mike James hopes it will help convert millennials into wine drinkers. 

Fontannaz said: “We are establishing craft wine. There will be more SKUs coming out. I want to broaden it. I want to do a Provence rosé. It’s a well-known appellation and in demand, but it can be intimidating for consumers, so we can demystify it and make it approachable and open the door to a different world for them.”

“We are also working on an alcohol free craft wine. Alcohol free craft beer is doing very well.”

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