In a country of wine purists, where traditional winemaking traditions are fiercely upheld, launching a range of canned wines was always going to a difficult proposition.
Undeterred, Paris-based Winestar has launched a range of single-serving cans that will be presented at the Vinexpo trade fair in Bordeaux, which opens on Sunday.
Winestar is not the first company to go down this route; it's following in the wake of brands like Barokes, Francis Ford Coppola and Friends Just Wine. But company co-founder Cédric Segal has high hopes that his wines will popularize the concept.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Segal said his goal was to make his Winestar the “Nespresso of wine” – a reference to the highly successful coffee brand that has done wonders with single-serve portions.
He’s also targeting a specific market and season: young French consumers who are bypassing wine shelves and instead plucking off cans of fizzy drinks and juices to wash down their picnic meals.
Segal’s reasoning is that lighter, portable, user-friendly cans filled with premium AOC wines will encourage consumers to put wine back on the picnic menu. Outdoor eating is practically a summer sport throughout France.
Wine consumption in France has experienced a precipitous decline over recent years. In 1965, the average per capita consumption was 160 liters per adult. By 2010 that had fallen to 57 liters, and the latest official figures also show that fewer than one in five French adults now drinks wine almost every day.
To launch the new line, Winestar is featuring a wine from Chateau de L’Ille in the Corbières wine region, one of 12 Appellation d’origine contrôlée wines that will eventually be featured. Other AOC wines will come from regions including Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Loire and Alsace.
The can, meanwhile, has a special Vinsafe coating that isolates the wine from the metal to ensure both stability and the integrity of the wine – which the company calls "a live and particularly sensitive product." Wine-Star adds: "And our wines will never have a cork taste!"
A 187-ml can retails for around 2.50 euros ($3.30).
Winestar is currently looking at expanding its market to include England, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, China and Russia.