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Led By Barefoot, Gallo’s Wine Portfolio Achieves Impressive Growth

March 24, 2015

Despite a total wine market that grew less than 1% to 321.8 million nine-liter cases in the U.S. last year, E.&J. Gallo Winery has seen phenomenal growth for a number of its wine brands, both domestic and imported. Much of that success has come from innovations such as the extensive Barefoot label, in addition to targeting Millennial consumers and expanding consumption occasions.

Barefoot Cellars, the U.S. wine market’s second-largest brand by volume, reached over 17 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. Acquired by Gallo in 2005, the Barefoot brand has since been extended to include the Refresh and Bubbly offshoots, which are resonating strongly with consumers looking to experiment. Barefoot Refresh, a line of lightly carbonated wines meant for consumption over ice, shot ahead by nearly 74% last year to reach 1 million cases since its 2013 debut. “Barefoot wines offer fun, flavorful and affordable options that reflect where, when and how people are enjoying wine today,” says vice president of marketing Stephanie Gallo.

Newer to the U.S. market is Dark Horse, which grew fivefold last year to a quarter-million cases despite limited distribution. This spring, the California-sourced brand ($9.99 a 750 ml.) is rolling out nationwide with tasting events planned across the country. Having made its national debut in September 2013, Gallo’s Cabernet Sauvignon-focused Carnivor label jumped by 155% in 2014 to 255,000 cases. Targeting its largely Millennial consumer base, Carnivor is continuing its “Devour Life” campaign this year with Devour Hour events planned nationwide in addition to an online component.

Apothic, which offers red and white blends, also appeals to Millennial consumers and last year grew nearly 20% to cross the 2-million-case mark. Gallo recently rolled out the limited-release Apothic Crush, which is currently available through April. Liberty Creek, which offers nine varietals, reached just over 3 million cases last year and is geared toward everyday wine consumers at retail. Meanwhile, William Hill Estate reached a quarter-million cases on 67% growth last year.

With its import business, Gallo is finding success in new regions and styles. New Zealand import Starborough grew 21.3% to 370,000 cases, demonstrating the region’s growing popularity with U.S. consumers at a nearly 20% increase to 5.7 million cases shipments in 2014. Competitively-priced Starborough Sauvignon Blanc is characteristic of New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and is gaining traction with consumers who seek a refreshing style.

Gallo has joined the Prosecco boom with the La Marca Prosecco brand nearing the 400,00-case mark last year on 15.4% growth. Last May, the company introduced a new 187-ml. format ($5) for La Marca to tap into the single-serve occasion. “Sparkling wine is becoming a staple in American homes and is no longer reserved for holidays and celebrations,” says Gallo. “Sparking wine is now being enjoyed year-round.”

Other Gallo brands that made strong volume gains in 2014 include The Naked Grape (+5.5% to 765,000 cases), Edna Valley (+4.5% to 580,000 cases), Canyon Road (+6.5% to 330,000 cases) and William Wycliff (+4.9% to 260,00 cases). Imported brand Alamos, produced at Argentina’s Bodegas Esmeralda, grew 6.5% to come in just under 1 million cases last year.


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