Sipping in the sun

Wine goes hand in hand with summer evenings outdoors. With a 27% market share of the alcoholic drinks market, wine remains Ireland’s second-most-popular beverage,* and now that we’ve been blessed with warm weather, wine will be at the top of many consumers’ shopping lists


Brand Central

Read More:

30 July 2020

Share this post:



Now that more people are entertaining from home, wine cocktails have been forecast to make a splash this summer. From spritzers to sparkling drinks, wine cocktails are a lighter alternative to traditional cocktails. Vegan wines are another trend to watch this summer. Animal derived ingredients are used in wine production across the globe. Substituting these for plant-based alternatives opens the category up to those following the diet.

Meanwhile, wine in a can is sure to catch the eye of those looking for a greener, on-the-go alternative. Supermarkets in the US and UK have already hopped on the trend and enjoyed healthy sales growth in return.

*(Source: Drinks Ireland|Wine 2019: ‘Irish Wine Market Report’)

Fizz the summer season!

At 8.5% ABV, Blossom Hill Gin Fizz aims to tap into the growing gin trend and has achieved strong sales since launch

Blossom Hill Gin Fizz is a sparkling blend of crisp white wine, botanical infused water, and a dash of gin, and is available in two flavours – Lemon & Rosemary, and Rhubarb. At 8.5% ABV, Gin Fizz should be poured over ice and served with a simple garnish.

The 75cl bottle of Blossom Hill Gin Fizz lends itself to the sharing experience for consumers, especially during the summer months

First launched into the Irish market last summer, Blossom Hill Gin Fizz aims to tap into the growing gin trend, achieving strong sales since launching. It was created based off the increased demand from consumers for new and exciting products within wine. Additionally, the gin market was thought to be quite old-fashioned and outdated leaving a gap in the market to attract a younger audience with the perfect blend of wine and gin.

Firstly, there is the 75cl bottle that lends itself to the sharing experience in line with the standard wine occasion. The rise in on-the-go formats and Gin Fizz being synonymous with social occasions paved the natural way to launch the ready-to-drink can variation. The 20cl can format enables consumers to easily enjoy the serve on-the-go, perfect for those summer occasions like festivals and picnics. It makes the product more accessible; that in turn allows Blossom Hill to continue to drive growth through innovative, fun and accessible concepts.

This is the perfect drink for those that don’t generally shop wine but would be interested in giving it a go. Consumers are looking for products that fit into their lifestyle and Blossom Hill Gin Fizz fulfils this role.

Blossom Hill Gin Fizz is distributed by Findlater & Co.

Chilled to perfection

With an elegant and minimalist design, the Cono Sur Bicicleta chilled range is sure to draw consumers’ attention

This year Cono Sur is launching two new chilled wines; Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Rosé. The Pinot Noir is a young, bright ruby red with a good intensity of red fruit, cherry and raspberry aromas. On the palate, it has a medium concentration and is fresh, juicy and smooth with good acidity and persistence.

Meanwhile, the Pinot Noir Rosé has a bright, clean, elegant rosewood colour. There is a full expression of fresh fruit reminiscent of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and forest berries present in the nose whereas on the palate this wine is fresh and juicy with good acidity and balance. Both have an elegant and minimalist design that is sure to draw the eye of consumers.

Cono Sur is launching four new Organic wines; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Carmenere Syrah

Organic growth

Cono Sur has a deep commitment to the environment which is embedded in its new organic range. Since its conception, Cono Sur has been deeply committed to the development of its environmental policies, believing that high quality wine production can work hand in hand with eco-friendly practices.

This is led by Cono Sur’s key principles of going back to the origins, providing quality in a pure expression of nature, all whilst showing respect to the environment. An example of this that exemplifies the brand’s dedication is its labels being made from recycled paper. At Cono Sur, things are done the natural way.

This year Cono Sur is launching four new Organic wines; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Carmenere Syrah. Young and fresh, this Sauvignon Blanc has a nice and bright colour with an expressive, refreshing, delicate, juicy and balanced taste. The Chardonnay has a seductively complex, very fresh and well-balanced acidity taste to it, undoubtedly young and friendly. Appealing in its rich and deep colour and governed by sweet wild fruit aromas, this Pinot has a personality of its own. Last but not least, is the Cabernet Carmenere Syrah, a wine of integrated character, that culminates in a chocolate finish with underlying woody and toasty hints.

Cono Sur is distributed by Findlater & Co.

Q&A with… Michelle O Sullivan, off-trade director, Findlater & Co

Michelle O Sullivan

Q: How have consumers responded to the ‘19 Crimes’ labels which tell a story using an augmented reality app? Has this innovative labelling helped drive sales and how important are the additional benefits offered such as improving in-store theatre?

A: Guilty of being named the World’s Most Admired Wine Brand 2020 by Drinks International, 19 Crimes is a wine that shares the history of the infamous people who founded the land where its grapes are now grown. It highlights the plight of 165,000 convicts who made the long voyage by sea to Australia between 1788 and 1868, as punishment for committing one of 19 crimes.

19 crimes wanted to bring the stories to life with a fun and intriguing twist to the standard wine tasting experience. To do this, we developed an interactive app which animates the 19 Crimes convicts’ infamous true stories.

To grow awareness of the brand and the concept of the interactive labels, there was a PR drop to key influencers. This was extremely successful with everyone loving the twist on their standard drinking occasion and something new to bring to the experience. On the back of this success, we partnered with SuperValu to create a bespoke retail pack for Father’s Day which was criminally successful!

With so much choice available, it is vital to improve and build on the in-store experience by adding something that stands out. The combination of awareness and something unique in the market brought not only a positive sales boost but a new cohort of customers seeking that unique gift and experience. We suspect it will become a firm favourite with plenty of fingerprints to prove it!

Q: With the launch of the new Blossom Hill Gin Fizz brand, why did you decide the time was right to enter the RTD category?

A: The big increase in rosé sales over the last few years has fed into the potential for this new category. The explosion in recent years in the traditional gin category has bought new younger consumers into gin, but we felt that it was still dominated by old-fashioned brands who spoke in a very outdated way. This left a gap in the market for a brand and a product that relates to the younger female gin consumer. The 75cl bottle lends itself to the same occasion as prosecco, a group sharing experience whilst the smaller can format is perfect for an on-the-go summer occasion such as festivals (even if they are happening in your back garden!) and of course picnics. Consumers are looking for products that fit into their lifestyle and Blossom Hill Gin Fizz is right up their street!

Q: How do you intend to capitalize on the well-established Blossom Hill brand to attract new consumers to the wine market with a canned product?

A: What’s available to consumers in cans has been dominated by old-fashioned brands. There has been a lot of noise around so called ‘hard seltzers’ in recent months, but what we feel is that consumers are moving back to brands that they know and trust, not just in drinks but in all of their purchase decisions. Blossom Hill Gin Fizz offers brand reassurance on many levels. Blossom Hill is known for great quality wines that appeal to the consumer without any of the traditional wine “fuddy-duddiness”. Gin Fizz capitalises on this with gin being the strongest trend in alcohol in the last five years. All of this is then wrapped up in a great ready-to-drink package.

Q: What are the major benefits of organic wines?

A: Like many organic products, be it carrots or bread, the major benefits tend to be from an agricultural point of view. There are no chemicals used in the farming of the grapes for these products and as such it is much better for the environment and for the ecosystem of where the grapes are grown. In general, there is a big move towards consumers being more concerned about what they are putting in their bodies and given the choice, I think most would choose to consume products that haven’t had chemicals used in their production. I would love to say that organic wines give you less of a hangover, but the science doesn’t back that up quite yet! Moderation is still the best way so far!

Q: How significantly have organic wine sales grown in recent years in Ireland? How do you intend to increase consumers’ knowledge about organic wines and drive category sales further?

A: Anecdotally, organic wine sales are in massive growth but realistically this is from a very low base. From a merchandising point of view, we are seeing a huge increase in aisles of health food with an organic or free-from focus and wine, while a little bit behind, will move in the same direction. The consumer education piece tends to be based in the on-trade where there is the ability to tell the story of how a wine is produced. In 2017 in the UK, 38% of all on-trade wine lists included at least one organic, biodynamic or natural wine – this has remained on the increase.

In retail, major brands like Cono Sur are now offering an alternative Organic range, this will begin a conversation and education piece with consumers. In the past, there hasn’t been the option of a binary choice between organic or not from any of the leading wine brands.

Q: How will the Cono Sur Chilled range dispel the myth that red wine can’t be enjoyed in warm summer months? How will you encourage more consumers to try out this option?

A: Chilled reds are a trend that has been growing in the on-trade for years – it began as a way to take the edge off the rustic reds that would be served in Parisian wine bars but really came into its own around lighter styles like Beaujolais. Chilling down a red wine tends to alter the taste profile in that the structure (tannin and acidity) sits up a little bit more with the fruit taking a back seat and this allows the wine to be more crisp and refreshing. The big increase in rosé sales over the last few years has also fed into the potential for this new category and the leading Pinot Noir producer in Chile, Cono Sur, flying the flag for chilled Pinot Noir is an exciting and edgy way to get our consumers thinking about the potential of a chilled red.

Fun, easy-drinking option

With full alcohol content at 10% ABV, the Hans Baer Secco range retails at €3.49

Ampersand is delighted to present Hans Baer Secco, an exciting innovation to the Irish market this summer. Hans Baer Secco is a quality duo of German semi-sparkling wines packaged in a 20cl can. Available in white and rosé, this single serve format can be chilled quickly, is environmentally friendly and convenient for consumers out and about this summer.

The Hans Baer Secco range retails at €3.49 with full alcohol content at 10% ABV and is packed in a case of 12. The packaging is classy and memorable with a visual logo of a bear on a bike. As the representative for Germany and the worldwide renowned symbol of the German capital of Berlin, the bear was chosen to be the trademark for the range. This bear travels all around the world representing the Hans Baer range of quality wines on international markets.

Ampersand launched the Hans Baer range of wines last year in response to an increasing demand for high-quality and affordable wines from Germany and has enjoyed success and significant growth in sales since. The range consists of a Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and a newly launched Sauvignon Blanc, all with a retail price of €10.95 per 75cl.

The Hans Baer range of wines represents modern winemaking adopted by innovative producers to produce a fun concept of easy drinking wines for a growing market segment.

If you are interested in stocking Hans Baer semi-sparkling cans or any of the wines from the range, contact your Ampersand representative, call the Ampersand sales line on 01-4130150 or email

Creating a buzz

Based in the Cuenca area of La Mancha in Spain, the vineyard that produces Melea is completely organic

Ampersand recently launched the Melea range of wines just in time for summer. Melea is a beautifully packaged range of organic and vegan wines with a unique story. Named after the rare bee Anthophora Melea, the range comprises two wines inspired by this rare insect. These include a white Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc blend, and a red made from 100% Tempranillo, both with an RRP of €11.95.

Melea wines come from the Cuenca area of La Mancha in Spain where the vineyard uses dry-farming methods and manages the vineyard traditionally without the use of toxic chemicals that can harm local wildlife, bees and other insects.

Bees not only act as important pollinators in the eco system, they also carry natural yeasts used to ferment wine. Melea wines are fermented using the natural yeasts transported around the vineyard by local insects, including the bee. The vineyard is totally organic, and part of the company’s focus is to allow wildflowers to flourish to specifically attract the local endangered rare bee called Anthophora Melea, thus giving the wine the name Melea.

The project is the result of a collaboration between managing director of Long Wines, William Long and his wife Barbara Long, a mixed media artist who stitched together the bee motif used on the labels from recycled threads, and their son, Freddie, who managed the design process. The label has gone on to win awards and Drinks Business Magazine recently featured it as one of the best wine launches of 2019 in the UK.

These exciting new additions are targeted at the growing organic and vegan sector of the wine market and present an excellent offering for retailers looking for a quality range of wines with a wonderful story to tell.

If you are interested in stocking Melea Wines, contact your Ampersand representative, call the Ampersand sales line on 01-4130150 or email

The Kylie Minogue Rosé features aromas of fresh summer berries and white blossom

Delicate, alluring aromas

To coincide with her birthday on 28 May, pop icon Kylie Minogue launched her signature French rosé in collaboration with Benchmark Drinks.

Kylie Minogue Rosé is an elegant, bespoke blend made from Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sourced from the sun-drenched southern French Coast, a region known for its innovative viticulture.

With a deliciously juicy and fresh first impression, the elegant blend features a beautifully pale pink shade with delicate, alluring aromas of fresh summer berries and white blossom, refined and refreshing on the palate with a fruity, crisp finish.

“It has been a privilege collaborating with Kylie to bring her rosé vision to life,” said Paul Schaafsma of Benchmark Drinks. “Kylie’s exquisite taste and refined palate made it a dream to develop this bespoke rosé blend, creating a beautifully elegant wine which reflects the character of Kylie Minogue.”

Kylie Minogue’s debut Rosé Vin de France is launching in Ireland on and Carry Out Off-Licences at an RRP of €12.99. For more information and to purchase Kylie Minogue Wines online, visit, and follow:

For distribution enquiries here in Ireland, contact Kate Barry of Barry & Fitzwilliam on email at or telephone 021 430900.

Seriously fun

Sarah Jessica Parker said blending the rosé “was not only great fun but, as always with my partners at Invivo, informative, surprising, delicious and wonderfully satisfying”

Award-winning actor, producer, designer and entrepreneur, Sarah Jessica Parker is adding a new rosé wine to her collection of wines with New Zealand-based winery Invivo & Co and it is now available for summer sipping.

This premium rosé – Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker Rosé – comes from the South of France and has been crafted in partnership with Sarah Jessica Parker, the founders of Invivo and a family winery in Provence. The new Invivo X, SJP Rosé will have a suggested retail price of €18 and is currently available at

The rosé comes hot on the heels of Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc, SJP’s first wine collab and one of 2019’s most successful global wine launches with huge retailers such as Costco, Bevmo, Albertsons, Sainsbury’s, SuperValu and Dunnes, which all listed the brand within months. Mike Osborne, founder and executive vice president of (the USA’s largest wine retailer) describes the wine as “one of their most successful launches ever”.

The final rosé blend was selected by SJP and Invivo over an afternoon of tasting and assessing in New York City and the result is a new rosé that can be taken very seriously, but is also very seriously fun.

The grapes come from a vineyard in Provence on a family winery Vins Chevron Villette located in the famous ‘Golden Triangle’, situated in Saint Tropez, inland between Puget‐Ville, Les Arcs and Le Thoronet Abbey, which was built in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century.

The Invivo X, SJP Rosé is all about expressing the very best of these Provence vineyards that Invivo famously sources from. With cutting‐edge technology and a ton of winemaking experience, the vineyard also strives to be eco-friendly by running the winery almost entirely on solar energy.

The critics at Wine Orbit in New Zealand have already given Invivo X, SJP Rosé 94 points and five stars.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sauvignon Blanc, which launched worldwide in September 2019, has already received a 90 points rating from Wine Spectator and a Gold medal at the Concurs Mondial du Sauvignon Blanc Competition 2020, along with numerous awards from the world’s largest wine competitions.

For more information, visit, watch or check out Instagram: @invivoxsjp @InvivoWines, Facebook: and Twitter: @InvivoWines.





Share this post:

Read More:

Back to Top ↑

Shelflife Magazine