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Pacific Highway Sees Double-Digit Growth, Eyes Portfolio Expansion

August 17, 2018

Pacific Highway Wine & Spirits, the North Carolina-based importer jointly owned by New Zealand’s Giesen and Australia’s Oatley families, saw double-digit progress in both volume and value in its fiscal year ended in June. Led by New Zealand-sourced Giesen, its largest brand, Pacific Highway’s volume rose by 27% to 335,000 cases during the year, while revenue jumped 36% to $30 million. The solid growth kicks off a three-year push by Pacific Highway, which is aiming to double revenue by 2021 while expanding its range.

Pacific Highway president Mark Giordano tells SND that the company plans to fill in gaps in its portfolio in both the domestic and imported wine segments. “This isn’t a rush—it’s a careful process and is a critical part of our growth over the next two years,” he says. “We’re looking at Spain, Italy, Napa, Sonoma, and Washington for partnership opportunities.” Giordano notes that expansion in the luxury segment will be a key opportunity for Pacific Highway moving forward, adding that the group intends to continue bolstering its sales team.

The importer’s portfolio includes Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón, whose Tannat Uruguay Reserva 2015 ($17) ranked 41st among Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017, among other wines from the sprawling holdings of Argentine billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni. Garzón is growing quickly from a small base in the U.S. Other Bulgheroni offerings in the Pacific Highway lineup include California’s Renwood, which has received increased investment recently, as well as Argentina’s Bodega Vistalba, Tomero, and Argento, and Bordeaux’s Château Suau.

Meanwhile, Giesen continues to rise in the vibrant New Zealand category, up 21% to 100,000 cases during the fiscal year, with its higher-end Single Vineyard range now at 5,000 cases. Giesen, whose core wines retail at around $15, has more than doubled in the U.S. over the past two years. Last year, the brand partnered with The Mark Wine Group to increase its on-premise placement in national accounts. Angela Slade, Pacific Highway’s vice president for brand strategy and communications, says Giesen’s Single Vineyard and The Brothers tiers are providing premiumization potential for the brand.

Other growing brands in the Pacific Highway portfolio include Provence-based Mirabeau—which has seen success with its Pure Provence canned rosé, retailing at $20 a 4-pack of 250-ml. cans—as well as the higher-end Robert Oatley Finisterre range of wines from Australia’s Margaret River region. The importer’s Boschendal and Bellingham brands from South Africa also posted growth during the fiscal year.—Shane English

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