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Gloria Ferrer Says Sparkling Wine Trend Is Lifting All Boats

October 3, 2013

Sonoma’s Gloria Ferrer, one of the largest methode champenoise bubblies made in the U.S., says the trend toward sparkling wines isn’t just benefiting Prosecco—which has been at the heart of the boom—but also increasing opportunities across the category. The Freixenet USA brand, which is currently introducing a new non-vintage Blanc de Blancs ($22 a 750-ml.) and fresh packaging throughout its line, is now well-placed to take advantage, according to vice president of marketing Eva Bertran.

“Sparkling wine went from a peak of 18 million cases in the 1980s down as low as 12 million cases. Now consumers are coming back to bubbly—across all styles—and we’re near the 18-million mark again,” Bertran tells SND.

Gloria Ferrer, founded in Carneros in 1982, has seen a number of changes lately, including price increases of around $2 a bottle and new labeling that’s debuting this fall. Of both the price hikes and brand makeover, she adds, “It was time. Pricing hasn’t really changed much across the business the past several years coming out of the recession.”

Gloria Ferrer’s sparkling wines retail at between $20 and $50 a bottle, with its still offerings, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, positioned in the mid-twenties. The brand’s Sonoma Brut, at around 60,000 cases, remains its top seller. Overall, Gloria Ferrer’s U.S. depletions have seen an up and down road in recent years, hitting a high of 165,000 cases in 2008, according to Impact Databank, before falling to 90,000 cases in 2010. In 2012, they were back up to around 110,000 cases, with sparklers contributing nearly 80% of the total. Short vintages in 2010 and 2011 didn’t help volume numbers, Bertran notes, but with a strong harvest in 2012 and another expected this year, the supply crunch shouldn’t be a barrier to growth much longer.

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