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Interview: Victoria Snyder, President, Treasury Wine Estates Americas

February 15, 2019

Earlier this week, Treasury Wine Estates Americas posted sales up 12.5% to A$605 million ($429m) for its fiscal first half ended in December, with EBITS increasing 2.3% to A$112 million ($79m).The results reflected a concerted shift toward the premium end of the wine market, with TWE Americas’ net sales per case up 10% to A$81.40 ($58) for the first half. SND executive editor Daniel Marsteller spoke with TWE Americas president Victoria Snyder to dig deeper into the first half results and discuss the company’s agenda moving forward.

SND: You recently made significant changes to your U.S. route to market. How has that transition gone?

Snyder: We went live with the route-to-market change last April. We’re very happy with the model and expect to continue to accelerate our growth. We had two buckets of investment as part of the initiative. One was to have a specific team focused on overseeing the transition itself, and the other was in sales and merchandising overheads. Where we’re self-distributing, we obviously needed to have a sales team and a merchandising team. Those investments have worked very well so far and will continue to pay dividends. Breakthru is now our biggest distributor partner. We feel comfortable that we have the best distributors in each market. Some suppliers go all-in with one distributor, but we have a very balanced footprint.

SND: How is progress on the premiumization front?

Snyder: The luxury and masstige ($10-$20 a 750-ml.) market is growing nicely, and we’re well positioned to take advantage of that. In the first half we grew our luxury and masstige depletions by 5%, which is great considering we changed our route to market. The commercial side of the business is more challenging, but we have a focused approach there, and we’re well set up to compete. When you do a route-to-market change, on-premise can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but we’re investing quite heavily to continue improving that part of the business.

SND: What’s driving 19 Crimes’ growth, and which other brands in the portfolio are showing promise?

Snyder: 19 Crimes has a lot of appeal with millennials. We launched the augmented reality initiative with that brand where the label actually comes to life to tell the brand story. On Matua, the packaging promises a crisp and refreshing profile to the wine, and it delivers on that. We recently relaunched Penfolds in the U.S. to reacquaint consumers with the brand and the Penfolds house style. That’s a multi-year strategy, and it has gone very well. We made Penfolds wines in Napa for the 2018 vintage, and we’ll be bringing those to market in a few years. On the luxury side, we’ve relaunched BV and repositioned its price—putting its higher tiers in line with its status as a Napa icon—and it’s very healthy. And Stags’ Leap continues to be a large luxury brand for us.

SND: What’s new within the innovation pipeline?

Snyder: We recently launched aluminum half-bottles on Sterling that look like an upscale canned wine. I’m really keen to see how those do in the market. We’ll soon launch Main & Vine Spritz cans in three flavors. And we’ve got some extensions under Etude and Stags’ Leap coming. Our most recent brand innovation was EmBrazen, focused on women in history who didn’t get to tell their stories. The trade response to that has been very positive so far.

TWE Americas – Top 10 Premium Brands in U.S.1
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand Origin 2017 2018 Percent
Change2
1 19 Crimes Australia 1,056 1,555 47.2%
2 Sterling Vintner’s Collection California 888 724 -18.5%
3 Matua New Zealand 430 525 22.1%
4 Chateau St. Jean California 544 406 -25.4%
5 Gabbiano Italy 290 273 -5.8%
6 Acacia3 Cailfornia 213 140 -34.5%
7 Stags’ Leap Cailfornia 141 112 -20.1%
8 Beringer Regional Estates Cailfornia 109 104 -4.1%
9 Sterling Vineyards Cailfornia 136 94 -30.6%
10 Etude4 Cailfornia 65 71 10.1%
Total Top Ten5 3,870 4,003 3.4%
1 at least $10 per 750ml. on average
2 based on unrounded data
3 includes A by Acacia
4 includes Lyric by Etude
5 addition of columns may not agree due to roundingSource: IMPACT DATABANK
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