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Quintessential Engineers A Turnaround For Georges Duboeuf In The U.S. Market

July 30, 2018

After a long-term decline, the Georges Duboeuf wine brand has returned to growth over the past year, and is prepping a number of new products aimed at further stoking its momentum.

Duboeuf, which was at 150,000 cases in the U.S. in calendar 2017, according to Impact Databank, was up 20% in the 12 months through June, according to Steve Kreps, co-owner of importer Quintessential, which began handling the brand in 2016 after its departure from longtime importer Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. With Duboeuf back on the rise, Quintessential is targeting volume of 1.2 million cases across its portfolio this year, with growth centered in the $15-$25 price tier.

Kreps tells SND that Duboeuf has gotten a lift from the increasing popularity of its higher-priced Cru Beaujolais wines, most of which retail in the $19-$26 range, as well as better performance for its Beaujolais Nouveau, which has garnered attention on social media by having its customers pick the artwork for its label. “Allowing consumers to become part of the creative process has given Duboeuf better pull off the shelf,” says Dennis Kreps, son of Steve and a co-owner of Quintessential.

This year, Quintessential is launching a Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé, retailing at around $14 a 750-ml., roughly in line with Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. “It’s guaranteed to be the first 2018 French rosé to market,” Steve notes. Also, in the coming weeks, Duboeuf will debut a new Pays d’Oc varietal line of wines—including Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon—which will retail around $12 and sell on-premise for about $8 a glass.

As Duboeuf rebounds in the U.S. market, Quintessential is seeing progress across a swath of other categories. Its Argentina business, including Pascual Toso and Valentin Bianchi, is now at around 400,000 cases, with consumers increasingly gravitating to Cabernet Sauvignon in addition to Argentina’s signature Malbec varietal. Valentin Bianchi recently opened a new 500,000-liter winery in the Uco Valley region, and is launching a new Gran Famiglia label in the $25-$30 range.

In Italian wine, Quintessential is seeing growth from its fruit-infused Tropical Moscato range, which includes Passion Fruit, Mango, and Strawberry expressions retailing at around $16 a bottle. Tropical Moscato, which is now at around 70,000 cases, is produced by Piemonte’s Luca Bosio. Quintessential also handles Bosio’s higher-end portfolio, which includes Barolo and Barbaresco offerings.

Meanwhile, the company’s key Spanish brand, Bodegas Muriel, was challenged by a tough vintage last year that wiped out its entire 2017 rosé production, but the Rioja producer is making gains up the pricing ladder with wines like its Conde de los Andes label ($35). “Rioja is getting better traction in the chain channel,” says Dennis. “It’s becoming a more consistent category now.” Elsewhere, Quintessential notes that the Ironstone brand from California and upscale Australian labels like Kay Brothers and Frankland Estate are also on the rise.—Daniel Marsteller

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