Canned rosé drove growth for Riot Wine Co

The canned rosé from Riot Wine Co is its flagship packaged wine, despite Australia’s biggest winemaker suggesting the opportunity for wine in cans is confined to sparkling products.

Riot Wine launched on tap in 2016 with the still rosé, which today accounts for 50 per cent of its total volume across both formats, co-founder Tom O’Donnell told the Drinks Adventures podcast.

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“We thought we’d test the markets and see how we’d go with Rosé,” he said.

“I grew up in McLaren Vale. So, our Rosé is a majority Grenache, and in 2019, it’s 100% Grenache.

“Still to this day, it’s our hero.”

Riot Rosé has underpinned the company’s growth in the canned wine sector, and eventual sale to Carlton & United Breweries in September 2019.

This is despite Treasury Wine Estates suggesting “consumers expect effervescence” when they buy wine in cans.

Sales of Squealing Pig Spritzed Rosé and Spritzed Pinot Grigio are “flying”, up 40 per cent year-on-year in Australia, TWE’s fine wine director George Samios recently revealed.

O’Donnell said he was insistent from the start that Riot should take the high road by educating consumers on the practicality of still table wine in cans, starting with the canned rosé.

“I don’t think it’s just wine in a can that consumers expect to be sparkling. I think it’s beverage in a can. If you see a can on the shelf, you expect it to be a beer, or a sparkling water, or something along those lines,” he told the podcast.

“So, much like the wine on tap, when we started with an education into drinking in a different format, we are doing the exact same thing with wine on can.

“I was fairly adamant from the beginning that we were going to put out wines that were actual wine, so they weren’t hybrids, or spritzers.

“We wanted some serious but easy drinking table wines to represent Riot. The same wines that we put on tap.”

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Author: James Atkinson

Journalist specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®.

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