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Ornellaia’s Second Wine, Le Serre Nuove, On The Rise In U.S., Other Key Markets

December 6, 2012

Tuscany’s Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is renowned for its flagship offering Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, but lately its second wine, Le Serre Nuove, has been garnering outsized attention from retailers and restaurateurs.

Le Serre Nuove retails at around $75 a bottle and averages $125 a bottle in restaurants. Its production reached 18,000 cases for the 2009 vintage—the most current release. That’s up 27% from 2007 and nearly double the output of 2003, the first year Le Serre Nuove entered the U.S. market.

In that year, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia sent 1,000 cases of Le Serre Nuove to the U.S. It’s now sending around 3,000 cases annually, and the label’s profile continues to rise. The varietal mix for Le Serre Nuove, a DOC Bolgheri Rosso, depends on the vintage. In 2009 the wine was 54% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc.

“We want each Ornellaia wine to stand on its own, and we’ve never tried to push one wine ahead of the others, but Le Serre Nuove has taken off,” says Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia parent Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi.

In addition to the flagship Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore and Le Serre Nuove, Ornellaia also produces around 40,000 cases of a third label, Le Volte (a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that retails at $35), as well as a smaller amount of Poggio alle Gazze, a Sauvignon Blanc retailing at $55.

The company typically makes around 12,000 cases of Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore (retailing at $215 a bottle), with 2,200 cases coming to the U.S. for the current vintage, all of it on allocation. Folio Fine Wine Partners, whose founder Michael Mondavi also holds a minority stake in Ornellaia, handles the group’s wines in the U.S.

Globally, Geddes says that the luxury goods sector in which Ornellaia plays is in good health, despite difficult economic conditions in some areas. He acknowledges that China’s high-end wine surge has slowed somewhat due to more restrained luxury purchasing by government officials. Overall, Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s turnover rose 4% to €82 million ($107m) in 2011, with exports accounting for over 60% of sales.


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