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Concha y Toro Consolidates U.S. Portfolio With Fetzer Vineyards Subsidiary

June 27, 2018

Chile’s Concha y Toro has acquired full control of Excelsior Wines—its joint venture with Banfi Vintners—and is consolidating its U.S. business under its California-based Fetzer Vineyards subsidiary. The Excelsior joint venture was formed in 2011 to handle Concha y Toro’s Chilean and Argentine brands in the U.S. Now those labels, including all Concha y Toro wines and the Trivento brand from Argentina, will move to Fetzer, whose portfolio includes its namesake brand, as well as Bonterra and 1000 Stories, among others.

In a statement, Concha y Toro said the move will enable it to “direct more resources toward brand-building efforts, with a focus on priority brands in the premium segment,” in the U.S. market.

With the addition of the Excelsior business, Fetzer will have U.S. sales of about 4.2 million cases, according to Impact Databank, and rank among the nation’s top 15 wine marketers. Fetzer is led by Concha y Toro veteran Giancarlo Bianchetti as CEO. Excelsior president Marc Goodrich will stay on to assist during the transitional period as the two companies merge.

Excelsior’s total volume slipped 7.8% to 2.7 million cases last year, with the Concha y Toro brand down 7.9% to 2.4 million cases. Lately, Excelsior has focused on building the presence of higher-priced Concha y Toro wines like Casillero del Diablo and Marques de Casa Concha. Trivento, from Argentina, has posted strong growth lately, rising 11% to 130,000 cases in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Fetzer Vineyards portfolio saw U.S. volume decline by 1.6% to 1.5 million cases last year, largely owing to tough competition for its core brand in the crowded $10 area of the wine category. But Bonterra and 1000 Stories have both been contributing solid growth for the company. Bonterra, known for its organic range, was up 13% to more than 400,000 cases last year, while the Bourbon barrel-aged 1000 Stories shot up 45% to 90,000 cases.

Concha y Toro is the eighth-ranked wine marketer globally at about 35 million cases. With its acquisition of Excelsior, it now has full control over its distribution in the key U.S. market. —Daniel Marsteller

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