NICE by name, NICE by nature
NICE are innovators in the wine market, first putting wine in cans in 2019, and are now the fastest growing and largest independent canned wine brand in the UK. The female-led business secured a loan from Virgin StartUp and now, Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be serving NICE wines in our Economy and Premium Economy cabins.
With many similarities between NICE and Virgin Atlantic, our latest onboard partnership is a match made in heaven (or as close to 38,000ft as you can get). We’re both market disruptors with a focus on innovation and putting the consumers’ needs first. It was these credentials which first caught the attention of our friends at Virgin StartUp, who supported NICE in 2019 with funding to get the business off the ground. Co-founders, Lucy Wright and Jeremy May, now give back to Virgin StartUp and help the next generation of entrepreneurs by running talks and webinars for the community.
Positioned as “Wine for Whenever”, Lucy was initially inspired by the growing trend of canned wine in America and how the UK market was yet to catch up. She rightly pointed out, “Everything comes in a bottle. That’s great if you're at home or in a restaurant but it's not great if you're at a festival or on the train”. One of the guiding principles at NICE is to always be led by their consumers. The clear gap in the UK market is what drove Lucy and Jeremy to launch the brand over two and a half years ago, initially with a pale rosé and sauvignon blanc before adding a malbec to the offering later on. Today, the success of NICE is evident; as the fastest-growing canned wine brand in the UK they have over 3,000 distribution points (supplying to Wimbledon Tennis Club, Chelsea FC, Sainsbury’s and Ocado to name a few) and have grown from a team of two to 12 full-time employees. “We’re really focused on hiring the right character”, Lucy says, “Most of our team are under 25, all recent graduates…we think it's really important to give those guys a chance, especially in this global pandemic”.
And they’re not just NICE to their people. These market disruptors are leading the way on the sustainability front too, and is what first drew Virgin Atlantic to the brand. As a ‘Future Wine Company’, the vision at NICE is to make environmentally conscious wine products for everyone, and every occasion. In 2020, the UK imported 1.5bn litres of wine¹ and with 68% of the carbon footprint of wine coming from its packaging and transportation², NICE challenges and disrupts the market with more sustainable wine formats. Glass bottles are the least sustainable form of packaging wine however they remain the most widely used³. From an airline perspective, the weight of glass far outweighs that of aluminium cans so by stocking our trolleys with NICE cans, we reduce fuel consumption and emissions with less weight onboard.
Better yet, the team have recently launched NICE Boxed Wine for those occasions where a can is simply not enough. Each box is equal to three bottles, nine cans, or 18 small glasses of wine, and because it’s boxed it won’t oxidise meaning it’ll stay fresh for six weeks after opening…if it lasts that long. Both the box and bag the wine comes in are fully recyclable, so your waste can be given a new lease of life. And when it comes to packaging, boxed wine has the lowest carbon footprint – 87% less than that of a traditional glass wine bottle.
But the proof really is in the plonk, and we can certainly vouch for these vegan wines passing the taste test.
NICE Sauvignon Blanc (11.5% ABV) is dry, crisp, with a hint of peach. The 2020 vintage is a classic French white from the Cotes de Gascogne region and made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. An easy drinker for any occasion.
While you’re busy manifesting a holiday to the South of France, a can of NICE Pale Rosé (12% ABV) will help transport you there. A crisp, dry and proudly pale rosé. From just outside Montpellier, this 100% grenache rosé gives summery vibes with just the right amount of strawberry notes.
For those who prefer something darker, the NICE Argentinian Malbec (13.5% ABV) is for you. With juicy, fruity and smooth credentials, this medium bodied wine has great depth. Malbec hails from Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes and is the perfect antidote to unravel even the most stressful of weeks.
It might be ‘Wine for Whenever’, but we think all three particularly suit a long-haul flight to somewhere fabulous. Can’t wait until you’re next onboard Virgin Atlantic to try them out? Head to the NICE website to order a trial pack or to find out more.
1. Central intelligence agency, (The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities ) accessed 27 October 2021
2. Jancis Robinson , ‘Carbon footprints, wine and the consumer’ (Jancis Robinson , 12 Dec) accessed 29 October 2021.
3. DrRichard Smart, ‘Accept Climate Change, or fight it?’ (The Porto Protocol , Feb 2020) accessed 27 October 2021
4. Gaia consulting oy, ‘– Final report Alko Oy ‘ (Update of wine packaging LCA , March 2018) accessed 27 October 2021.