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Exclusive: Constellation’s Primal Roots, Dreaming Tree Strike Chord With Consumers

September 27, 2012

Constellation’s recent new product blitz—including the planned introduction of around 70 new labels in its 2012 and 2013 fiscal years—has already spawned several wines that are showing strong potential. Along with the unoaked range Simply Naked—which sold 157,000 cases in its 2011 debut, and is projected to hit 400,000 cases this year—Constellation’s new Primal Roots and Dreaming Tree brands also earned Impact “Hot Prospect” honors after solid showings in their first year on the market. Like Simply Naked, Primal Roots and The Dreaming Tree primarily aim to engage female consumers.

Primal Roots, a California-designated brand that includes a red blend of Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel and a white blend of Viognier, French Colombard, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, depleted 58,000 cases last year in only about six months in national distribution. This year, says Constellation’s marketing director, innovation, Nicole Glenn, it will likely more than double to around 140,000 cases.

The brand, which retails at around $11, targets females from 25-54 with messaging that plays up a “jammy, silky” profile without using the term “sweet,” which Glenn says can be off-putting to some consumers. The approach has so far been effective, especially in the off-premise grocery channel, where Primal Roots does around 92% of its volume, boosted by strong performances in the Midwest, Northeast, California and Texas.

The Dreaming Tree, meanwhile, is Constellation’s collaboration with musician Dave Matthews. Selling around $15 a bottle, it includes a Central Coast Chardonnay, a North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon and a North Coast Crush Red (a blend of Merlot and Zinfandel). It too has jumped out to a fast start, selling 52,000 cases last year in less than half a year on the market. With North Coast Crush leading the way—it was the second-largest SKU in SymphonyIRI channels in the ultra-premium red blend category in the 12 weeks through August 5—The Dreaming Tree is expected to deplete more than 200,000 cases during Constellation’s current fiscal year, ending next February.

Part of The Dreaming Tree’s marketing approach involves an appeal to eco-conscious consumers. The brand’s bottles are 50% lighter than average wine bottles, and feature sustainably grown cork and labels made from 100% recycled paper.

Early next year Constellation plans to launch an aromatic white blend line extension to The Dreaming Tree, playing off the popularity of the North Coast Crush red blend. Like Primal Roots, The Dreaming Tree does most of its business—over 80%—off-premise, with Florida, California, New York and Texas representing its strongest markets. But Glenn says the brand is also “seeing tremendous momentum in the on-premise with a number of accounts bringing in the wine by the glass as a result of Dave Matthews’ cachet, consumer buzz and the extremely food-friendly nature of the wines.”


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