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Andrea Bocelli Brand Driving Solid Growth For August Wine Group

June 14, 2017

Seattle-based importer August Wine Group (AWG) is enjoying strong progress across a number of brands this year, led by Bocelli Family Wines ($16-$70 a bottle), the namesake label of singer Andrea Bocelli. August Wine president Joshua Hanson tells SND that the Bocelli brand is expected to deplete around 40,000 cases in the U.S. in 2017, continuing a trajectory that’s seen it expand by about 60%-70% annually in recent years.

Bocelli Family Wines’ newest addition, Tenor Red ($18)—a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot—is exceeding expectations. The company’s initial projection of 4,000 cases has already been surpassed, and Hanson now expects Tenor to reach about 10,000 cases for the year. Tenor Red might eventually become the biggest seller in the Bocelli Family portfolio, displacing its Prosecco ($16), Hanson adds.

Additionally, AWG launched two rosés under the Fabre en Provence label this year—a Côtes de Provence AOP rosé ($15) and a Côtes de Provence AOP Cru Classé rosé ($22)—expecting to import about 3,000 cases. But demand has spiked and Fabre en Provence’s new entries are now on pace to account for about 8,000 cases combined. Initially focused on the on-premise, Fabre en Provence has also begun to generate “surprisingly strong interest from the off-premise,” Hanson notes.

Going forward, AWG intends to highlight unique growing regions that Hanson calls “extreme terroirs,” such as Kalfu’s Sumpai Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Atacama desert, considered one of the driest non-polar locations on Earth. Grapevines for Sumpai are drip-irrigated with spring water drilled from the subsoil. Hanson says such extreme terroir wines will resonate with the increasingly sophisticated American wine palate. AWG’s growing stable of extreme terroir and cool climate wines is also an insurance policy against the effects of climate change on traditional wine regions, he observes.

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