Ex-Diageo exec develops lower-abv sparkling wine ‘with therapeutic benefits’

Ex-Diageo exec develops lower-abv sparkling wine ‘with therapeutic benefits’

Wine is arguably the least tuned-in category when it comes to the no- and low-abv trend – but new brand Floreat is hoping to change that with its wellness-focused approach to bubbly.

The 5.4% abv sparkling wine is infused with botanicals specifically chosen for their ‘mind- and mood-boosting properties’.

‘Now people want less alcohol, and when they drink they want it to be as good for them as possible,’ Anne-Marie Hurst, founder of Floreat, told Imbibe.

Hurst, a trained medical herbalist, and former Diageo executive sought to marry her expertise in both botanicals and drinks to answer this demand – so she looked to traditional tonic wines for inspiration.

‘Tonic wines are an old-fashioned way of giving herbal medicine, but they’re strong in alcohol and honestly not very nice to taste. We wanted to deliver therapeutic benefits in a nice-tasting way,’ she said.

To craft the wine, Hurst tapped a group of drinks veterans that includes Fred Hollamby-Jones, chemist and ex-Twinings master tea-blender, and Andy Mclean, mixologist and sommelier.

Ultimately, Hurst and her team developed a Pinot Grigio-based sparkling wine, infused with botanicals including violets, rose petals and milk thistle.

‘The herbs and botanicals were the starting point for the wine. I thought, what benefits do I want from them? Then we made sure the taste works,’ she explained. ‘Tonic wines are traditionally non-sparkling, but the bubbles ensure that it doesn’t taste medicinal.’

And it’s true – in Imbibe’s tasting of the wine, we found that its light, crisp bubbles alleviated any bitterness. Both the nose and the palate are dominated by floral notes, primarily violet and white blossom. We can see it working as an aperitif – health benefits or no, Floreat makes a sessionable and intriguing addition to a wine list.

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