French rabbit "petit" wine in 250ml launched in Ontario as demand for wine in innovative packaging expands to single serve containers



    TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - French winemaker Boisset, the first to introduce
vintage wine in Tetra Pak containers to Canada, today launched French rabbit
"petit", as demand for wine in innovative packaging expands to single serve
containers.
    French rabbit wines in a 4 pack of 250ml (4 x 1/4 litre = 1 litre) Tetra
Pak containers are now available at the LCBO for the first time. The French
rabbit range expands with two new wine offerings and one line extension:
French rabbit "petit" dual varietals with Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc in white,
and Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon in red, as well as a line extension to accompany
the very popular Pinot Noir already available in a 1 litre size and now
offered in this practical four pack of 250ml. All three new wines will retail
for $14.95.
    French rabbit "petit" are the latest offering in the successful series of
French rabbit vintage wines, first launched in Toronto two years ago and now
available in seven countries. The vintage dated, quality wines from the South
of France have won numerous international awards for the wines and the
innovative packaging.
    Jean-Charles Boisset, president of Boisset, one of France's premier
winemakers, said the 250 ml French rabbit responds to a worldwide interest in
single serve wine formats. He said there is growing desire in the wine world
to experiment with packaging and winemaking approaches that minimize wine's
carbon footprint, and which also meets growing demand for versatility.
    "Consumers are moving into single-serve wines and will love the
convenience of the smaller size of French rabbit 'petit' in a lightweight,
eco-friendly package," said Boisset. He noted French rabbit in the "petit"
250 ml size offers unsurpassed portability, protects the wine quality and
integrity. For the hospitality industry, single serve wines offer the
advantages of portion control for inventory and ease of service, as well as a
sealed package for consumer reassurance.
    Boisset says the new format is also ideal for enjoying wine at home.
"French rabbit's 250 ml format makes it easier for a couple dining at home to
choose to have both Pinot Noir and some white wine if they wish."
    With more than 8 ounces of wine per container, the French rabbit 250ml
offers tremendous value in a small package, as well as the convenience of
personal size wine.
    ACNielsen has found consumers are open to a format which makes it easy to
open just the amount of wine needed, rather than an entire bottle. AC Nielsen
has identified 'personal size wine' as the fastest growing wine trend in the
US-at a rate of 15 per cent year.
    Another key wine trend continues to be wine in Tetra Pak containers,
which continues to grow at 30% per year (Business Week, 2005; Wine market
Report, 2007; Tetra Pak USA, 2007). French rabbit is currently the fastest
growing wine in Tetra pak containers in the US. Boisset said French rabbit has
also struck a responsive chord in France and England.
    He credits Ontario as the cradle of the trend for French rabbit: "It was
Ontario's immediate support of French rabbit during our global launch there
two years ago which led the way for our entry in Europe, Japan and throughout
the US," Boisset said. Introduced in Toronto in August 2005, French rabbit
wines reached sales of 200,000 litres in four months, resetting the benchmark
as the most successful launch of a new wine in LCBO history.
    "Single-serve expands options for wine enthusiasts and is part of a
global trend to greater versatility in beverage alcohol packaging that is
convenient and also good for the environment," said LCBO President and CEO Bob
Peter. "And don't forget you can contribute to a healthier environment by
returning your empty Tetra Pak beverage alcohol containers to The Beer Store.
You will get your deposit back too - a win for everyone."
    Peter is credited with launching the alternative packaging trend in
Canada two years ago when he invited all LCBO suppliers to consider packaging
some of their beverage alcohol products in environmentally-friendly
containers.
    When French rabbit was introduced in Ontario, Boisset pledged to donate a
portion of sales to support an LCBO Natural Heritage Fund project with
Wildlife Preservation Canada to help re-establish the Eastern Loggerhead
Shrike, an endangered Ontario songbird.
    "French rabbit's popularity with Ontario consumers supports wildlife
projects and has encouraged other LCBO suppliers to offer customers premium
wines in environmentally-friendly packages," said Peter. "It also encouraged
other suppliers to follow Boisset's lead and support environmental
conservation programs."
    Today's launch of French rabbit "petit" in Toronto's Spoke Club included
a donation of $160,000 to Wildlife Preservation Canada, bringing French
rabbit's total support for the Shrike project to $320,000 over two years. The
funds are used to expand breeding and wintering facilities.
    French rabbit's eco-friendly Tetra Pak package reduces packaging waste by
90% and has merely 4% packaging to weight of package. More than 2.5 billion
litres of wine were packaged in Tetra Pak worldwide in 2006, and wine in boxes
is the most popular wine packaging format in countries such as Australia,
Chile, and Spain.
    Wines in single serve and alternative packaging formats are the fastest
growing wine segments in North America and Europe. In Canada, French rabbit
was the only premium wine in a Tetra Pak 26 months ago. The LCBO now has more
than 75 wines in Tetra Pak containers on its shelves, in addition to dozens of
other beverage alcohol products in alternative packaging.

    Note; Backgrounders available on Boisset; the Loggerhead Shrike; Wine
trends and statistics.


    
                            Trends and Statistics
    

    Single Serve Wines

    Wines in single serve and alternative packaging formats are the fastest
growing wine segments in North America and Europe.
    Anielsen has identified "personal size wines" as one of the newwest6
trends in wine, growing at a rate of 15% in 2006, and poised for a further
increase. According to Trump Magazine noted in the winter 2006 issue:
"single-serve mini bottles and juice box-sized cartons are convenient and
portable, popping up at parties everywhere."
    Wine consumers appreciate the convenience offered by individual-sized
wine products-not only are they light in weight and easy to chill, but the
single serve makes it easier for a couple dining at home to choose to have
both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay if they wish.

    Wine in Tetra Pak containers

    French rabbit was the first wine in a Tetra Pak container sold in Canada,
and on theof the first in North America. Launched by Boisset in Toronto in
August 2005, French rabbit is now available in seven countries: Canada, USA,
Japan, Ireland, England, France, and Denmark.
    In August 2005 the LCBO offered only French rabbit in a Tetra Pak
container. By October 2007, the LCBO offered more than seventy five varieties
of wine in Tetra pak containers.
    Around the world, more than 2.5 billion litres of wine are packaged in
Tetra Paks each year. Even in the US, which has adopted the trend more slowly
than Europe, Australia and South America, wine in alternative packaging is one
of the fastest growing wine trend.
    In 2005 Business Week magazine reported that growth in wines in
alternative packaging was growing at 30% per year in North America. More
recently, in April 2007, Tetra Pak USA also reported that it anticipates a
30 percent annual increase rate in its North American wine business, while
Tetra Pak Canada provides packaging in Ontario for winemakers through two new
Ontario plants and a Quebec location.
    In the US, French rabbit was ranked among the top 10 best selling new
brands last year, (IRI survey, 2006), and was identified by wine retailers as
a "power brand". Life Magazine, Time and Wine Spectator have all written
features about French rabbit, noting that it is at the forefront of a
revolution in consumer's approach to wine. (Full reviews and articles are
available on www.frenchrabbit.com).
    In Canada, a Leger Marketing Survey commissioned in June 2007 by Tetra
Pak Canada found that most Canadians-about 70%-have purchased wine in a Tetra
Pak. About a third would be happy to take them to a dinner party, in addition
to purchase the wines for picnics and barbecues. Most Canadian wine drinkers
said they base their wine choices on recommendations and value/price, rather
than traditional wine advice.

    Boisset and French rabbit are winning awards; consumer recognition

    Jean-Charles Boisset notes that in France, where traditions about wine
are especially solid, consumers are embracing wine in Tetra Pak containers.
Since it was introduced in France in March 2007, French rabbit has received
extensive coverage. Viniflor, France's national wine industry board, found in
a recent that the French are now ready to expand beyond the glass bottle, with
67 % ready to serve wine to guests in alternative packaging.
    French rabbit 2006 Pinot Noir won a silver medal at the 2007 Vinalies
Internationales Competition. A the world's best new consumer products and
packaging competition, the SISAL held in Paris every two years, French rabbit
won Gold in th ewine category in November 2006.

    Environmentally-sound approaches key in the wine world

    In addition to producing wines in sustainable packaging, Boisset was one
of the first winemakers to ensure all properties operate on ecologically-sound
practices. Boisset also supports groups which help to preserve the natural
environment. In France, contributions from the sale of French rabbit support
Surfrider Foundation, which protects sensitive coastal lands. In the US,
French rabbit sales in 42 States help support AmericanForest-Boisset is a
sponsor of the tree-planting group.
    In Ontario, Boisset has contributed $320,000 from the sale of French
rabbit in Ontario the past two years to support the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike,
through the LCBO's Natural Heritage Fund. "Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes are the
only predatory songbird in North America. With LCBO and Boisset support for
expanded breeding and wintering facilities, we are able to take action so that
this beautiful species will not become only a memory on Canada's grasslands,
"Wildlife Preservation Canada President Elaine Williams said.
    Founded in 1961 by Jean-Claude and Claudine Boisset, Boisset Vins &
Spiriteux is a family-owned collection of wineries and handcrafted spirits
that has flourished into a leading international company. By keeping close to
its Burgundian and terroir-driven roots and traditions, while exploring
innovative new ideas and high-quality wine regions, Boisset has become the
world's leading producer of Pinot Noir, with a presence in more than 80
countries. Boisset stays true to its core values of excellence, innovation,
respect for the environment, creativity and a commitment to terroir. Under the
leadership of proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, Boisset is forging a bridge
between tradition and innovation, combining the best elements of both to
create its wines.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Boisset: David Bantey, National
Director, Canada; Boisset: Andrew Cieszkowski, Ontario Sales Director; Media
contact: Danièle Gauvin, Mansfield Communications Inc., (416) 599-0024, cell
(416) 452-4748, daniele@mcipr.com

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