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Blue wine from Spain

Sector: Futurefood
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White, red or rose ... wines are presented in conventional options. But then a group of young students read Blue Ocean Strategy, and got inspired to create a blue ocean, of wine.

Spanish startup Gik Live! make wine that is naturally neon blue. They extract a pigment from the skin of the red grape (called anthocyanin) which gives the neon blue hue. Some winemakers have called it “blasphemous,” but the founders say the wine is safe to drink.

“This is not something that’s done in a lab at all,” said co-founder Taig Mac Carthy. “This is all pigments, they come from nature, and so do the grapes. The making of this is 100% natural.”It took two years of testing to get the recipe right.

The drink is made using different varieties of red and white grapes from around Spain, including the wine regions of Castilla la Mancha and Rioja. Anthocyanin, a pigment from the red grapes’ skin, and indigotine, which is derived from plants, give the wine its bluish colouring Non-caloric sweeteners are then used to modify the flavour and create a sweet drink with 11.5 per cent alcohol per volume.

The six founders are all in their twenties. They raised Euro 40,000 between them to start their business with help from The University of the Basque Country. The wine has a very sweet taste and it’s similar to white wine. It’s sold in over 25 countries at a shelf price of Euro 15.

The company was challenged legally in Spain about whether it could be called a wine. Some tweaks to the composition eventually allowed it to fit into the category definition, but it is certainly not trying to conform. Early clients are equally split between men and women and aged between 25 and 34 years old, according to Gik’s online data.

Whilst wine tasters have given the wine mixed reviews, its target audience of millennials have been most positive, less due to the flavour and more due to the Instagram-ability of the blue hue.

“I love how magical the blue color will look in my Instagrams, but the taste wasn’t exactly up my alley – it tasted a little more like a cocktail than wine. I probably wouldn’t seek this bottle out, but if it was the only alcohol option at a party, I could certainly get lit on it.” said one.

The producers suggest pairing the wine with sushi, nachos with guacamole or pasta carbonara with music from James Blake or Alt J in the background. Aritz Lopez, co-founder of Gik, said that in Spain new generations are not used to traditional wine, they prefer beers, liquors or cocktails.

Lopez said Gik spent two years working with the University of the Basque Country, which provided them with a laboratory and a team of chemical engineers.

The blue colour has its own meaning and was inspired by the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy.

“The book says there are two kind of oceans: the red ones, full of sharks (competitors) fighting against each other for a few fishes (customers) and turning the ocean red because of the blood. And it talked about creating blue oceans; oceans where, thanks to creativity and innovation, everyone could be free,” Lopez said.

“It sounded like poetry to us, so it could not be any other colour,“ he added.

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