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High-End Growth Drives Domestic Sparkling Wine

June 8, 2018

As the total domestic sparkling wine category edges closer to the 11-million-case mark in the U.S., brands retailing at $15 and above are showing the most promise. In 2017, the leading domestic sparklers within that tier—Domaine Chandon, Mumm Napa, Gruet, Roederer Estate, Piper Sonoma, and Gloria Ferrer—collectively grew by 5% to nearly 1.3 million cases, according to Impact Databank, with five out of the top six brands showing increases.

The market’s leading above-$15 domestic sparkling wine, Domaine Chandon ($18), crossed the half-million-case mark with a 3.8% rise last year. The méthode champenoise offering now stands about 155,000 cases ahead of its 2010 volume total. Brand-owner Moët Hennessy USA has generated excitement for Domaine Chandon in the summer months with the annual release of its limited-edition American Summer bottle series, which is now in its seventh year. The company says consumers now anticipate the release, and it expects volumes of the current edition to exceed those of previous years.

Rebounding from a 4.4% volume decline in 2016, Pernod Ricard’s Mumm Napa enjoyed a nearly 9% gain last year. The California sparkler now sits at 335,000 cases in the U.S. market. Pernod Ricard attributes the rise to expanded distribution and a focus on retail execution, digital programming, and social media. The company says Mumm Napa is able to attract a range of consumers through its four styles—Brut, Brut Rosé, the slightly sweeter Cuvee M, and Blanc de Blancs. “As consumers dedicate more disposable income and curiosity to learn about the domestic sparkling category and trade up, premium and super-premium brands will continue to benefit,” says Tina Reejsinghani, brand director for Champagne and sparkling at Pernod Ricard USA. “Mumm Napa is poised to succeed in this pricing segment.”

New Mexico’s Gruet was one of the few domestic sparkling wine brands to post a double-digit growth rate last year, reaching 122,000 cases on a 10% increase. The Albuquerque winery, founded by France’s Gruet family in 1984, produces a number of vintage and non-vintage sparklers via the méthode champenoise. Precept Wine has been handling Gruet’s sales and marketing throughout the U.S. since 2014. Since then, the brand has seen U.S. depletions expand by nearly 40% to become the third-largest domestic sparkling label in the above-$15 segment.

Among other key brands in the $15-and-over category, Maisons Marques & Domaines’ Roederer Estate was down 0.7% to 115,000 cases last year, while Rémy Cointreau’s Piper Sonoma rose 0.7% to 110,000 cases and Freixenet USA’s Gloria Ferrer advanced by 2.2% to 93,000 cases.—Kimberly Tharel

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