Constellation Europe is marking the 40th anniversary of the Australian Hardys Nottage Hill brand with the launch of a dessert wine offering in the UK.

The Nottage Hill Dessert Shiraz will be available in the UK on-trade from this month, the company said yesterday (17 September). With an alcoholic strength of 17% abv, the dessert wine comes in a 50cl bottle.

Constellation said the launch combines the consumer appeal of the Hardys brand with the high-quality flavour associated with Nottage Hill, offering drinkers "an accessible way into the dessert wine category".

The company estimates that the dessert wine category in the UK is currently worth around GBP9m (US$17.96m), but believes there is potential to boost this by bringing new consumers into the category.

"Dessert wines tend to be drunk by affluent, older, consumers of finer food groups," said the company's vice president brands marketing Clare Griffiths. "We want to expand this audience with a more accessible dessert wine featuring the Hardys name that people know, respect and can relate to."

Griffiths added that the company plans to develop this consumer interest with brand-building support in the New Year.