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Exclusive: Treasury Relaunches Souverain, Adds New North Coast Wines

February 11, 2014

Treasury Wine Estates has revamped California wine brand Souverain, aiming to reinvigorate a label historically known as a reliable, value-oriented Sonoma producer.The relaunch will include a new look intended to “breathe fresh life” into Souverain while staying true to its roots. Elements in the brand’s new label depict a crown, a cluster of grapes, the California golden bear and the thistle of Scotland, a tribute to winery founder Lee Stewart’s heritage.

Concurrently, Souverain will introduce a new range of North Coast wines—including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot—targeting the fast-growing $15 segment. Those wines will join the brand’s flagship Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley ($40) and Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley ($35). According to Treasury, the intention is to build on Souverain’s legacy of producing high-quality North Coast Cabernet.

Having sold Souverain’s former Alexander Valley winery to Francis Ford Coppola in 2006, Treasury now produces the brand’s wines at its Asti Winery near Cloverdale. “When we sold the Chateau in 2006, the brand went a little quiet,” said John Grant, senior vice president of marketing, Treasury Americas. “Not any longer. It’s time for us to tell its story.” Grant added that the modern winemaking facility at Asti, access to fruit from the 120-year old Alexander Valley Estate Vineyard, and 20-year veteran winemaker Ed Killian’s ties to growers throughout the North Coast have Souverain positioned for renewed success.

Founded by Lee Stewart in Napa in 1944 (before moving to Sonoma in 1974), Souverain has had an up-and-down path over the past decade in terms of U.S. volume. It rode several years of strong growth to reach 220,000 cases in 2004, but by 2009 had fallen to 80,000 cases. Last year, it posted 2.2% growth to 83,000 cases, according to Impact Databank. Over the years, Souverain has earned more than 30 scores of 90+ from Wine Spectator.

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