Beginner drinkers get a crush on sweet red wines. Guess you have to start somewhere.

on 05/10/11 at 11:08 am


Adler Fels Winery in Santa Rosa got the call about two years ago.

“Can you make us a private label wine that can compete with Llano Estacado?” asked the caller.

Llano, a Texas winery, was killing a competitor with a new category that was selling faster in the state than a cattle stampede. The Lubbock winemakers simply call it sweet red wine. It isn’t Moscato, it isn’t Lambrusco, it isn’t Port, but a Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend that retails on its website for $7.25.

White Zinfandel, wine coolers and sweet wines such as Boone’s Farm certainly had their 15 minutes until taste arbiters deemed them unsophisticated and they fell off the popularity chart. But there’s a resurgence in sweet wine – especially with middle-income 21- to 35-year-olds weaned on a steady diet of Coca-Cola and other sweet drinks, who are just now experimenting with wine.

“Sweet red wines have become particularly attractive in the Southern and Midwestern states,” said Dana Fehler, marketing director for Adler Fels.

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