IF you believe wine belongs in a bottle and not a can, remember when you protested the advent of screw top lids in wine only to later embrace it.
That’s the message from innovative Hunter-founded wine importer and distributor Fourth Wave Wines, led by husband and wife Nicholas and Frances Crampton, with a business partner.
Fourth Wave Wines has just released seven wine varieties in a can via their labels Elephant in the Room (chardonnay, pinot noir), Hootenanny (sauvignon blanc), Le Chat Noir (rose), Take It To The Grave (pinot noir, shiraz) and Mascareri (prosecco).
Wine in a can has been around for a while in Japan, the US and UK, but in Australia the market is ripe for the picking, say the Cramptons, who believe the rise in craft beer in a can is proof there’s a market for canned wine.
“We offer bottle quality wine and we think cans can help people in happy and healthy wine enjoyment,” says Mr Crampton, adding that wine in a can is, however, best enjoyed in a glass.
Market research suggests consumers want to drink less but drink good quality wine, which he says suits the canned wine experience.
“When you open a bottle you’re making a decision to drink more than you should or share it with someone who likes it or put it in the fridge where it may deteriorate,” Mr Crampton says.
The Cramptons started Fourth Wave Wine in 2009, pooling their talents (his wine industry experience and marketing nous; her finance and IT skills) to tap into what they saw as a niche for on trend wine labels.
“We saw gaps in what consumers were after and what suppliers were supplying,” Mr Crampton, who monitors trends via top line wine market data and talking to the quaffing public.
“The first place we started was modern and affordable European wine because people were travelling more and loving the idea of French rose and Italian pinot grigio but couldn’t find it in Australia for under $30.”
Assisted by wine consultant Corey Ryan, Fourth Wave Wine makes wines in six countries and sells, under its own brands, more than 300,000 dozen wines in more than 20 countries across America, Asia and Europe.
The business has grown 40 per cent year on year, and expects to double that result this year.
“When we think there is a style that needs to be on the market, we do it, ” says Mr Crampton, adding that Australian wines are having a “renaissance” overseas.
Not unlike a book cover, catchy wine labels are key to success, so too making “easy to love” wine.
“The label is the introduction to dance, you have to have quality behind the product,” Mr Crampton says.