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Barefoot Seeks Expansion Through Aggressive Innovation

October 21, 2013

Barefoot Cellars has seen its volumes rise by more than 70% since 2009, and last year it increased by 8% to 11 million cases, according to Impact Databank. Barefoot is now the U.S. market’s second-biggest wine brand behind Franzia’s 23.2 million cases.

Barefoot Bubbly, meanwhile, rose by 24% to 960,000 cases in 2012, according to Impact Databank.

Lately, Barefoot has been aggressively innovating to maintain its growth leadership. In late spring, Gallo launched Barefoot Refresh, a line of four lightly carbonated wines meant for casual consumption over ice—a format that appears to target spirits drinkers. Retailing at $7.99 a 750-ml. bottle, Refresh has four labels: Crisp White (made from Chenin Blanc and Riesling), Sweet White (Pinot Grigio and Moscato), Summer Red (Pinot Noir Rosé and Moscato) and Perfectly Pink (Grenache and Moscato).

This month, Barefoot has entered the flavor arena with its new Barefoot Bubbly Fusions line. These new entrants, made with California sparkling wine infused with natural fruit flavors, aim to significantly alter consumer perceptions of sparkling wine in both taste and usage occasions. Retailing at $10.99 a 750-ml., Fusions offers three flavors: Citrus Fusion, Tropical Fusion, and Berry Fusion.

Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing at E.&J. Gallo, told SND the Fusion line’s launch will be “the primary focus this holiday season” for the Barefoot sparkling portfolio.

Citrus Fusion blends Pinot Grigio and Symphony and is infused with blood orange, passion fruit and sweet peach flavors. Tropical Fusion mixes Pinot Grigio and Symphony and is infused with pineapple, mango and papaya flavors, while Berry Fusion is a blend of Pinot Noir and Barbera infused with pomegranate, cranberry and plum flavors.

As part of its effort to change consumer perceptions of sparkling wine, this summer Gallo launched a cocktail initiative called the Barefoot Bubbly Summer Mixology Program. The program offered creative cocktail recipes on the brand’s web site as well as on Twitter and Facebook, and at events. Consumers were also encouraged to share their favorite sparkling cocktail recipes in those digital formats. “We’ve seen the growth in sparkling wine cocktails in both the on-premise and off-premise, and we think the trend will continue,” said Gallo.

The core Barefoot brand’s growth is being fueled by aromatic whites like its Pinot Grigio and Riesling, as well as new labels like Pink Moscato and Impressions Red Blend, Gallo added.

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