Exclusive: Treasury’s Chateau St. Jean Continues Strong Run, Closing 2013 Up Double-DigitsJanuary 6, 2014
Sonoma’s Chateau St. Jean has been among the strongest performers in the Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) portfolio of late, earning Impact “Hot Brand” honors in 2012 after rising 18% to 525,000 cases. In 2013, which marked the winery’s 40th anniversary, the brand kept up the momentum and is estimated to have grown around 20%, according to John Grant, TWE Americas’ senior vice president, marketing.
The bedrock of Chateau St. Jean is its California appellation tier, which straddles the $10 mark at retail. Grant tells SND the brand’s marketing tie-up with singer Sheryl Crow has helped boost visibility and drive off-premise progress for the California range, which includes a California Pinot Noir, California Cabernet, North Coast Chardonnay and the recently launched Soiree red blend. In particular, the Pinot has been “a sensation” since debuting about two years ago, Grant says, adding that Soiree is off to a strong start.
Up the pricing ladder, Chateau St. Jean has also seen solid results from new products in its Sonoma County tier. An Alexander Valley Cabernet was released in late 2012, followed by a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ($25) last March. “These wines have been getting a good reception, particularly on-premise,” Grant notes. Also positioned at the higher end of the range are Chateau St. Jean’s on-premise-focused portfolio of single-vineyard Chardonnays ($25) and its flagship red blend, Cinq Cepages ($75).
Looking ahead, Treasury intends to continue leveraging Chateau St. Jean’s brand-loyal following within the female demographic—estimated to account for as much as 70% of sales—by celebrating successful women such as Crow in its marketing. It’s also keen to capitalize on the consistent growth occurring in the U.S. wine market’s $10-$20 segment, which has been advancing by double-digits and outpacing other categories.
“We sell a lot of wine at around $10 in the grocery channel, and that business is growing,” Grant says. “But our real focus going forward will be the $10-$20 range, and we’re also going after direct-to-consumer.” Grant cites Kendall-Jackson (of which he was formerly president) as a key competitor to Chateau St. Jean’s California tier. As Chateau St. Jean looks to build a bigger presence upmarket, however, he sees it going up against brands like Rodney Strong and Jackson Family’s La Crema.