Exclusive: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Undergoes Major RevampAugust 31, 2012
Constellation has undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of one of its biggest and most recognizable wine brands, Robert Mondavi Private Selection. Changes include a repack aimed toward modernizing and premiumizing the brand, a shift to the Central Coast appellation from the California designation and a new red blend extension, Coastal Crush, which will roll out in November. The rebranding initiative has been in the works for two years, Robert Mondavi director of marketing Carl Jaeger tells Shanken News Daily. The revamped Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines will hit the market tomorrow.
Moving Private Selection to the Central Coast appellation will provide retailers and restaurateurs a new selling point for the accessibly priced Mondavi offshoot, Jaeger says. “We want to show consumers why Mr. Mondavi planted vineyards in the Central Coast in the first place. It has a cooler, diurnal climate that brings out characteristics you don’t see further inland. And the wines are priced so that people can enjoy them more often than they typically would the higher-end Robert Mondavi estate wines from Napa.”
The rebrand is also intended to expand Private Selection’s appeal to younger wine drinkers. “The new packaging speaks not only to our core consumers but also reaches out to the Millennial audience,” Jaeger says. He adds that retailers who have been acquainted with the changes are enthusiastic about the investment Constellation is making in the brand.
Private Selection’s upcoming red blend, Coastal Crush, is billed as having a juicier, more fruit-forward profile than its existing Meritage blend. While the Meritage is strong in the on-premise, especially by-the-glass, Coastal Crush is meant to be an accessible off-premise complement. The core of the Private Selection line ($10-$12 a bottle) continues to be its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varietals, followed by Pinot Grigio and Merlot.
The shift comes even as Robert Mondavi Private Selection has posted solid growth in the U.S. market of late, rising 5% to 1.91 million case depletions in 2011, according to Impact Databank. Jaeger acknowledged that, unsurprisingly, the on-premise part of the business slipped during the tough economic times of recent years, and Private Selection’s overall volume declined in 2008 and 2009. The brand has rebounded since then, however, and over the past decade has averaged incremental growth of nearly 65,000 cases a year.
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