About Black Tower
Black Tower is one of the few top wine brands of the 80s, which has stayed the test of time, and still has a presence and place on supermarket shelves across the country. Once, one of the very biggest wine brands in the world, and especially the UK, in the days when sales of German wine dominated, it has managed to undergo make overs and facelifts across the years, in a way that only a couple of other brands from the wine revolutionary 80s, have done – one other such wine is Mateus Rose.
What's the Background to Black Tower?
Britain discovered wine in the 1980s, when it ceased being the drink for the upper classes and for special occasions. Supermarkets were instrumental in bringing wine to the British public, making it approachable, and most of all, affordable. In those days, there was claret, cotes du rhone, Chablis and Muscadet. But the wines that caught the imagination, and the taste buds of millions of new wine drinkers, were the sweeter, fruitier styles, easy drinking, and with names and labels that people could recognise and trust.
Enter the eye catching and unique Black Tower, in its ubiquitous towering black bottle, launching at a time, when German wines were second only to France in the league table of wine sales. The wine market today is almost unrecognisable, with the dominance of Australia and the New World. At the height of Black Tower’s success, Germany was number 2 on the leader board of wine sales in the UK, and Black Tower slogged it out with its big rival, Blue Nun, for the lead German wine brand.
20 years on, Germany only accounts for 2% of the total UK wine sales, as styles have changed. However, whilst many of the other German brands have disappeared, Black Tower is still selling over 1 million cases of wine per year, and is still the 30th largest wine brand in the UK.
Black Tower was created just over 40 years ago, in 1967, when the fashion for sweet, German wine, was growing, although Liebfraumilch, and similar styles, were at the height of their success in the early to mid 80s. It was created by a German wine producer, Reh Kendermann, in the Rheinhessen region of Germany.
Black Tower was immediately recognisable by its heavy, jet black bottle, in the shape of a tower. Sales grew rapidly, and by the mid 80s, it was a major force all around the world, and especially the UK, where popular comic actor Leslie Phillips popularised it even further, as the star of a national TV advertising campaign. Sales were well over 1 million cases per year.
In the 90s, as the Australian brands hit the scenes, many of the traditional, and now old fashioned wine brands disappeared. However Black Tower continued to show innovation, through sponsorship, product diversification and also label redesign.
In the 90s and the early noughties, it kept its brand presence by sponsoring Formula One; it launched new styles, with a Pinot Grigio, a Rose and a light, fruity red.
As recently as 2008, following extensive research with consumers worldwide, Black Tower has undergone a total revamp and relaunch, with a new, split colour bottle, retaining the unique shape, but softening the black, to show the wine within the bottle.
Despite the changes in wine trends, and the wax and wane of its fortunes, Black Tower is still on the shelves, still on dining tables across the world, and still the world’s number 1 German wine brand.
What Styles Of Wine Do Black Tower Produce?
Alongside the iconic, original Black Tower, there are now several other styles, as the brand has moved with the times, but all in a similar, towering bottle, although the design has changed over recent years.
Black Tower Rivaner Fruity White – the original, but with a slightly drier, yet, still very fruity style – fresh, easy drinking, with floral and peach notes.
Black Tower Riesling – a crisp, lively drier style of white, with lively lime fresh character.
Black Tower Silvaner Pinot Grigio – catching on to the Pinot Grigio trend, this is a soft, smooth, quite spicy white, with peach and apricot fruit.
Black Tower Chardonnay – a creamy, tropical fruit flavoured wine, unoaked and lively.
Black Tower Rose – a soft, juicy, red berry scented rose from the Portuguieser and Dornfelder grapes – gentle strawberry character dominates.
Black Tower Pinot Noir Regent – a light, soft, fruity red, with raspberry and chocolate hints.
Black Tower Pink Bubbly – a semi sparkling, off dry Rose, full of lively berry flavours.