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Mezzacorona, Now Above 1 Million Cases, Escalates Its U.S. Marketing Efforts

February 24, 2014

At more than 1 million cases in annual sales, northern Italy-based Gruppo Mezzacorona is already a major player in the U.S. wine market, and recently the group has amped up its marketing efforts with an eye toward further expansion. The marketing push began in 2012 with a media spend of $1.1 million, according to Kantar, compared with a minimal outlay the year prior. With those efforts stoking volume growth, Mezzacorona’s top executives tell SND they plan to reinvest heavily in U.S. marketing again this year and are anticipating a double-digit sales bump in return.

Mezzacorona’s wines are sourced from a sprawling cooperative of more than 1,600 growers whose vineyards run from Lake Garda to the Dolomite mountains in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy. It exports around 80% of production, and half of its total output comes to the U.S. market. Mezzacorona’s namesake Trentino-based brand—ranging from $9 to $30 a bottle and centered on Pinot Grigio—accounts for around 90% of its volume in the U.S., where subsidiary Prestige Wine Imports handles sales and marketing. Last year, the Mezzacorona brand was up 9% to 936,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

In addition to the Mezzacorona label, the group’s northern Italian brands include Rotari metodo classico sparkling wines from Trentino. Rotari’s Brut and Rosé bubblies retail at around $14.99, while its higher-priced Flavio expression is at $35.

Mezzacorona also has holdings in Sicily, where it owns the Feudo Arancio winery and controls 2,200 acres, 70% of which are planted vineyards. Its key label in Sicily is Stemmari, the leading Sicilian brand in the U.S. (as well as in global markets like Germany and Japan). Stemmari has two tiers, including varietals like Nero d’Avola, Pinot Noir and Grillo at $10 and red and white blends at $14.

Early this summer, a Grillo-based spumante will join the Stemmari line at around $10 a bottle. The new bubbly, notes Prestige Wine Imports COO Alberto Lusini, is billed as a “sparkling refresher” because it has relatively low CO2 levels. “We expect it to be big for us this summer,” he says, adding that Stemmari will be backed by ads targeting both consumers and trade in the U.S. this spring.

 

 

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