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Cameron Hughes Spreads Wings At Retail, Eyes Half-Million-Case Mark

September 5, 2014

California-based negoçiant Cameron Hughes, long a strong player in the big-box channel, is significantly expanding its grocery and independent retail business through its recent alignment with V2 Wine Group, marking a period of pronounced expansion for the company.

Under the sales and marketing agreement between the two parties this past spring, V2 is spearheading Cameron Hughes’ drive into new markets and retail accounts, while the Cameron Hughes organization itself continues to primarily manage its own club channel business, including big-box outlets like Costco and Sam’s Club. Driven by a new range of wines, the Cameron Hughes Collection ($15 a 750-ml.), V2 expects to sell about 225,000 cases of Cameron Hughes wine this year, with new markets like New York—where the brand recently aligned with Southern Wine & Spirits—contributing to gains. Overall, Cameron Hughes’ volume will approach half a million cases for the year, up from around 400,000 cases in 2013, the company’s founder and namesake tells SND.

“We’re now getting a lot better grocery and independent retail penetration through V2,” Hughes says. “The Cameron Hughes Collection, which was really built for that channel, is now in Kroger and was just authorized for Publix and Winn-Dixie, so that area is jumping to light-speed.” The Collection, designed as a consistently available counterpart to Hughes’ one-off Lot Series, is adding a Monterey Pinot Noir that will hit shelves in September. Production for the Collection was around 50,000 cases for the first year.

Meanwhile, Cameron Hughes’ Lot Series is unveiling a host of new vineyard-designated 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons in the run-up to the holidays as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. Those offerings, retailing at around $30, include Lot 501 Howell Mountain, Lot 502 Spring Mountain, Lot 515 Monte Rosso Vineyard and Lot 525 Napa Valley (Stagecoach Vineyard), among others.

In addition to Cabernet—which is expected to soon be in more plentiful supply in California, given two strong harvests in 2012 and 2013 as well as a solid 2014 crop on deck—red blends have been an especially fruitful area for the Lot Series recently, with consumers taking to offbeat blends like Tempranillo-Malbec-Garnacha and Zinfandel-Syrah-Petite Sirah (both $14). “The red blend category is still doing very, very well, and there’s a lot of opportunity there,” Hughes says.

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