By Kimberly Noon
Special to The Dagger
What is this new wine craze that has stormed retail wine stores’ across the country? Beautifully packaged wines with names called Chocolate Shop and Cocoa Di Vine and Espresso Flavored Cherry have gained national retail distribution and attention recently. Consumers’ that may already have a sweet tooth, can select from thousands of wine labels and now roughly between 10 and 12 different branded chocolate wines in the US market.
About ten years ago, such a product would not have been considered or even taken seriously from a retailers’ point of view. Today, this opinion has changed and retailers’ want to keep as many fast selling products on the retail shelves, as trends continue to change on the consumer end and also on the palate preference of US consumers. Women spend roughly 8 years of their waking lives shopping and 80% of the foot traffic in fine wine shops across this country, tend to be female driven.
Get a retailers’ opinion. Many retailers in Harford County, for example, have redesigned their business floor plan and merchandised aisles to create a welcoming atmosphere for working women and stay at home Moms to enjoy the shopping experience in a clean, welcoming environment.
This shift/change toward shopability and comfort tends to keep people longer in the store, so they will feel comfortable and well served. Free wine tastings and seminars are offered at many of these in store venues and center around a central wine themed topic. The free wine tastings provide a “girls night in,” approach to not only socializing but also sampling the wine to see if it is enjoyed or not.
And who would refuse liquid chocolate infused wine in a glass? Just pump it into a free vein and drip away. Currently, the selections of Chocolate Wine is so vast and diversified in a wine shop, the choices are overwhelming. With Valentine’s Day, less than a week away, and so many options out there, take some guesswork out of the selection and start first with an attractive label design.
Then focus on the taste and style of the chocolate wine. The first chocolate wine to enter the US market was Choco Vine, imported from Holland. The foundation of the wine was more driven toward a chocolate base, with rich chocolate imported from Holland and then infused with an undisclosed red wine base. Various flavors of the product were later added, like cherry and espresso. Shortly after the success of Choco Vine, another decadent formulation of chocolate wine reached the US marketplace. This brand was called Cocoa Vino.
Cocoa Vino is produced in the US., in Temperance, Michigan and uses only fresh dairy cream from Wisconsin and a creamy textured chocolate. The red wine is added in later and the result is a sultry and creamy chocolate decadent wine. Cocoa Vino comes in three flavors presently, Cherry, Mint and yummy chocolate. The average retail price is $10.99 per bottle.
The Cocoa Di Vine, is my personal favorite chocolate wine to enter the US market this year. The chocolate wine is produced in Wisconsin and contains a rich fusion of moscato and port together with two-parts dairy cream and one of the most ornate upscale bottle designs produced in the premium chocolate line so far, this year.
Then to contrast all of the rich smooth and velvety textured dessert wine selections, the newest Chocolate Shop release to enter this market is made in Washington State. The Chocolate Shop is intriquing in the approach to this new chocolate wine lover’s craze, because the product is more wine based and drinkable with food, with a slightly port- wine like finish with wisps of raspberry and chocolate cherry essence. The Chocolate Shop tastes like fortified wine with a chocolate cherry finish. Chocolate Shop is produced in Wala Wala, Washington and currently makes on annual production of 50,000 cases of this new Chocolate Shop creation and retails for $13.99 per bottle.
So, dive into a bottle of chocolate decadence today and start preparing the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, liquid chocolate wine for under $15. What a great gift and two ways achieved to satisfy the holiday, chocolate and wine combined.