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After 2013 Rebound, Argentina’s Trapiche Hones Quality Message

July 15, 2014

One of the pioneers within the Argentine Malbec category in the U.S. market, Grupo Peñaflor-owned wine brand Trapiche has seen some upheaval stateside in recent years, but after a strong rebound in 2013 that earned it Impact “Hot Brand” honors, the franchise is back on the upswing.

Long handled in the U.S. by Frederick Wildman & Sons, Trapiche moved to The Wine Group in 2012. As U.S. consumers warmed to Malbec, the brand saw steady growth from 2000—when it was at 115,000 cases, according to Impact Databank—up to 2010, when it hit its high-water mark of 390,000 cases. But with big players like Gallo and Constellation increasingly targeting the Malbec segment, Trapiche took a step back in 2011, slipping 23%, then fell sharply to 120,000 cases in 2012, when it shifted marketers. In 2013, its first full year with The Wine Group, however, the brand more than doubled in volume to 280,000 cases, and progress has continued into this year, with volume up 27% in the 12 months through May, according to Nielsen scan data.

One area where Trapiche’s marketers see opportunities to expand the brand is in the on-premise by-the-glass segment, where its Broquel and Oak Cask Malbecs are seeing success, priced around $11 and $7.50 a glass, respectively. The Wine Group imports about 35,000 cases of Broquel and 75,000 cases of Oak Cask, out of global production of 50,000 cases and 170,000 cases, respectively. While Malbec continues to account for the lion’s share of Trapiche’s exports, at 70%, the winery also produces other varietals like Torrontés, Chardonnay, Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon among others.

Trapiche is also burnishing its quality reputation—and that of Malbec in general—with its Terroir Series of single-vineyard wines, sourced from sites across Mendoza. Only about 2,000 cases are produced across the Terroir Series—which retails at $55 a bottle and consistently earns 90-plus scores from Wine Spectator—with 25% of output coming to the U.S.

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