The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Hopped NZ wine in a can doubles sales in US market

Sales of a hopped Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in a can called Gooseberry Bomb have doubled in the US for New Zealand winery Allan Scott Wines.

Sales of the second version – the 2017 vintage – of the hopped canned wine have skyrocketed in the US market over the last 12 months, according to Allan Scott Wines General Manager – Sales, Mitch Gardiner.

“There is still huge growth in the US with canned product, and there is great demand for us with this to the point where I am getting approached fairly regularly as to whether we would work on a white label or BOB basis in the US,” he says.

“We have easily doubled our business in the US with this product, and we haven’t gone to full distribution yet. I’m currently negotiating with a canning facility on the West Coast in California to produce 375ml cans and we intend to then launch Gooseberry Bomb in Chicago and everywhere from Richmond in Virginia through to Los Angeles in California.” Sales domestically in New Zealand of Gooseberry Bomb would still represent two thirds of total sales however.

Gardiner said there has been a different methodology deployed for the second vintage of Gooseberry Bomb.

“For our second vintage we looked at some hops that we thought were a little bit more complimentary, so we used Calypso which is an American hop that is used in West Coast IPAs. Calypso makes it a little bit more fruity, but vegetal fruit such as caramelised shallots, and we wanted that to complement and contrast with a lot of the big zesty characters that we were getting out of the Sauvin hops we used in our first vintage,” says Gardiner.

“We co-ferment with green hops at the start and then we use the traditional method of using the temperature of the ferment to really extract that hop character and we dry hopped post fermentation as well.

“For our next vintage we are looking to use a hop rocket to super charge the wine through the hops to extract even more flavour character. For the 2018 Gooseberry Bomb, which we will start in six months, we would look at going back to a New Zealand hop style – Pacific Jade or Riwaka, or maybe even some Cascade, to punch you in the nose again and really add that complexity,” he says.

Gardiner also confirmed Allan Scott is looking to launch Razor’s Edge Riesling with Lemongrass and Chilli.

“Since we are using Riesling, it is lower in alcohol and is a much lighter lifestyle option,” he says. “Gooseberry Bomb is 11.5% ABV which is around 1.5% lower than a lot of other Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We expect the Razor’s Edge Riesling could be as low as 9% ABV.

“We tried a Pinot called Phat Jam but that was very high in alcohol at around 15% and so we have stopped that as we don’t want to be regarded as cowboys making a mockery,” he says.