Start-up aims to rebrand Sherry

It’s time for a ‘total reinvention’ of the old classic, according to a new company. The aim of XECO Wines is to resurrect Sherry’s image from its outdated ‘granny’s favourite tipple’ and reposition it as a delicious, refreshing aperitif. Ideal Wine Company reviews Sherry’s rise into the limelight.

XECO Wines was started by three friends, all self-confessed fino Sherry ‘fiends’. Their love of this old favourite prompted them to come up with a workable strategy to “bring Sherry out of grandma’s cupboard and into wine bars and onto cocktail menus across the UK”.

Ideal wine company sherry
Sherry is making a comeback as a delicious aperitif.

First release

XECO Wines will be releasing a dry fino Sherry as its first product. Made with Palomino grapes in Jerez, the Sherry is aged in American oak caskets for at least four years. This takes place at Diez Merito, which was established in 1876.

The resulting wine is pale golden in colour and described as “light and fresh on the palate, with dainty savoury ‘Umami’ aromas and a hint of salinity”.

Developing Sherry cocktails

As well as launching newly branded products, the company is working with various mixologists to come up with a range of both classic and new cocktails using Sherry. The aim is to make Sherry cool again and introduce it to a whole new generation.

The new packaging and brand design is central to this relaunch of a product considered old fashioned by many. They describe their packaging choices as ‘disruptive’ and the range features larger than life historical characters from Spain and England interspersed with eye catching graffiti art. The characters include Cervantes and Catherine of Aragon on the Spanish side, and Henry VIII and Shakespeare for the English.

Creating an impactful brand image is part of the strategy to set XECO Sherry products apart from the traditional branding of the current products. XECO Fino is on sale now from Master of Malt and is priced from £15.99-£16.99. Look out for an Amontillado set available over the coming months as well.

Not the only new Sherry on the market

It seems XECO has its finger on the pulse as there are other industry moves to bring Sherry into the 21st century. These include the launch of a new Sherry-based sparkler by Gonzalez Byass. It’s called Croft Twist and comes pre-mixed. Based on an Andalusian cocktail, its ingredients are Fino Sherry, crushed ice, lemonade and a mint garnish.

Earlier in 2017, Waitrose also revamped their range of Sherry. Their new look bottles went on sale in May after abandoning the colour coordinated look in favour of more individual styles.

Is wine beating beer for Brits?

According to information from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), the UK is fast turning into a nation of wine aficionados. Ideal Wine Company reviews the increased popularity of wine.

Wine has now taken over from beer as the most popular alcoholic drink in the country. People across the UK spend £108 million on wine every single week, compared with just £45 million on beer. That equates to 38 million people in the UK choosing wine – around 74 per cent of adults in the country.

This means that each wine drinker spends about £148 per year on wine. And they’re not just kicking back and relaxing with a glass at home in the evening, they’re heading out to drink too. Ten million bottles of wine are sold every month in pubs and bars across the UK.

Ideal Wine Company wine vs beer
Is wine becoming increasingly more popular than beer?

Importing prices are rising

The country’s wine bill is constantly rising as Brexit has force import costs up until the average price of a bottle of wine reached £5.56, an all-time high.

So, despite the fact that we’re just a small island, the UK is the sixth largest market in the world. More than 1.8 billion bottles of wine are imported into the UK every year, which includes one billion from inside the European Union. Only the USA beats our £3billion per year import market, and they have five times our population.

Growth of domestic market

It’s no longer just other country’s wines we’re drinking. The UK is finally a wine making nation in its own right, with vineyards now the fastest food and drink sector in terms of growth in the country. There were 64 brand new vineyards in 2016 alone.

Our wine industry is one of the few benefits of climate change and we’re also benefitting from improved wine growing techniques. We now have 500 vineyards and look likely to catch up with our 1,700 breweries before too long. VAT on the average bottle of UK wine is about £2.80, so the industry is now pouring a decent amount of money (£9.1 billion) into the country’s coffers.

From luxury to every day

There was a time when quaffing Prosecco or a decent red was reserved for meals out or special occasions. Now that it’s possible to buy excellent quality Prosecco in the supermarket for as little as £5.99, it’s perhaps not surprising that people are choosing wine over beer more often and enjoying it at home as a matter of course.

Is our love of wine good for our health?

While drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is universally considered a bad idea, experts do say that wine in moderation has distinct health benefits.

Some studies suggest that women who are aged over 55 can benefit from drinking five units or less of wine a week. It seems that antioxidants in the wine, including resveratrol and quercetin, could protect against heart disease.

However, it can’t be emphasised enough that moderation is key and no one is suggesting that people knock back a bottle of wine every night!