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EXCLUSIVE: Cecchetti Wine Launches Premium “Austerity” Brand, Targets 400,000 Cases Company-Wide

February 20, 2013

Sonoma-based Cecchetti Wine Co. is debuting a new wine brand, Austerity, at the $16-$17 mark, as it looks to grow its portfolio to 400,000 cases for 2013. Named for the fiscal policy buzzword, Austerity is a California-sourced range including red and white blends. The red is composed of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while the white features Riesling and Chardonnay. Rolling out February 21, the new label is expected to sell around 10,000 cases in its first year on the market, company president Roy Cecchetti tells Shanken News Daily.

“With Austerity, we want to show we can create a quality, world-class wine without a high price,” says Cecchetti, who expects the brand to do well both on- and off-premise. The launch will kick off with an “Austerity to Wall Street” event in which the wine will be delivered to major banks on Wall Street.

Austerity’s launch is part of Cecchetti’s ongoing effort to premiumize its portfolio. Last July, the group introduced Exitus ($25), a super-premium red blend that sold approximately 4,000 cases for 2012, and it plans to continue adding more upscale brands. “We want to slowly start covering more price points, particularly toward the $20 level,” says Cecchetti.

The company has already demonstrated ample success at the key $10 price point, with its existing four-brand portfolio selling 340,000 cases last year. Cecchetti’s largest brand is Redtree ($10-$12), which was up 12% to 162,000 cases in 2012, followed by similarly-priced Line 39, which surged 30% to 112,000 cases. Its fastest growing label, however, was Backhouse, which is aimed at on-premise by-the-glass consumption and leapt 93% to 62,000 cases. For this year, the company is targeting 15%-20% growth, which would put it right around the 400,000-case mark.

Besides Austerity, other innovations in the works include a new Pinot Noir under the Line 39 range, which is projected to add 20,000 cases to the brand in its first year. Additionally, the company, whose production is currently handled by the Ranch Winery in St. Helena, is in the process of scouting a site for its own facility, which would ideally be located in Sonoma, Cecchetti says.

 

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