AVL disrupts wine category with crown-sealed bottles Posted by: Alana House September 13, 2017 Australian Vintage Ltd (AVL) is shaking up the wine category with the launch of Off The Grid, a new range of wines in 500ml crown-sealed bottles. The disruptor brand features two wines from emerging varieties Tempranillo and Montepulciano, which are dubbed ‘Temp’ and ‘Monte’ on the front label. AVL General Manager Australasia North America Cameron Ferguson explains: "We’re having a bit of fun with the varietals as quite frankly consumers can’t pronounce them, and we see that as a barrier to trial. ‘Temp’ and ‘Monte’ are much more user friendly and engaging, and we think it will get the cut-through we are looking for with the consumer." Curated by Buenos Aires based cult artist Alan Berry Rhys, who is known for his prolific street and screen printed art, Off The Grid recently launched as a trial across 142 BWS stores in NSW and Victoria." Ferguson (pictured above) continued: "With Off The Grid we're changing the game, or at least having a good crack at interrupting the status quo. It’s about disruption, interruption and bringing something different to the table. There's so much we can be doing to drive genuine interest in the category by pushing the boundaries a little, whether it be consumption occasion, pack format or varietal. And in doing so we can attract new consumers to the category. "Much has been said of late over the ongoing and sustained erosion of the boundaries between categories. We’ve seen new products launched that cross multiple categories, and consumers are showing an increasing willingness to switch categories if another appears more dynamic. "It's about time wine got in on the act." Best enjoyed in a wine glass – or as Ferguson admits – occasionally straight from the bottle – Off The Grid has a shelf price of $15, and is on promotion from September 6 through to October 31 at two for $20. Crown seals the new wave in sparkling wine While crown seals are rare in still wine, they are widely used for Champagne and sparkling wine. After a base wine is liqueured with yeast and sugar to produce the fizz in Champagne, it’s then capped with a crown seal. It remains that way for a minimum of 15 months in Champagne, then the crown seal is removed during disgorging, when the yeast is expelled from the bottle and a cork applied. However, some producers are keeping their crown seals on to avoid cork taint and bottle variation due to random oxidation. In the same way that Australian wineries were the first in the world to adopt screwcap seals to any significant degree with still table wine, they are again at the innovative forefront with sparkling wine. John Harris, senior sparkling winemaker at Victoria’s Domaine Chandon, whose ZD zero dosage sparkling wine was the first released with a crown seal attached to the finished product, told Wine Genius: "While the trade and the media have embraced the idea, some consumers are indeed a little more reticent’, he says. ‘But for the same reason that Stelvin a popular form of screwcap is successful, you can argue the same case for the crown seal. "We’re also confident because our sparkling wines spend most of their lives under crown seals, and in some ways it’s a little foolish to take them out of the seal and jam a little bit of bark in at the top. Not only have we not received a single incidence of failure in two years with this seal, but they are preserving freshness for longer and causing far less bottle variation."