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Gérard Bertrand Projects 54% Rise For 2015, Raising Languedoc’s Presence In U.S. Market

May 22, 2015

Riding a steady growth curve, French winemaker Gérard Bertrand has made progress in his quest to raise Languedoc’s profile in the U.S. market, but he’s marked out even more ambitious goals for this year. An Impact “Hot Prospect” for both 2012 and 2013, the Gérard Bertrand brand rose 30% to 130,000 cases in the U.S. in 2014, and the label’s namesake projects it to reach 200,000 cases, a jump of 54%, by year-end. Five years ago, Gérard Bertrand was at just 20,000 cases stateside.

That success comes as the broader Languedoc category has seen solid growth in the U.S. from its small base. Overall, Languedoc-Roussillon’s U.S. shipments rose 16% to €21 million ($24m) last year on a volume increase of 5% to over half a million cases, overtaking fellow French wine region Beaujolais.

Bertrand tells SND he expects his stable of rosé offerings—including a few upscale newcomers—to drive gains for the portfolio this year. The Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc rosé (around $16) has fared well in the U.S. lately, as has 2012 launch Cote des Roses (just under $20). This year, Bertrand is introducing two rosés from his Chateau La Sauvageonne into national distribution. The first, which was in limited distribution last year, is Wild Woman (a translation of “Sauvageonne”), positioned at $25-$30 retail. Higher up the pricing ladder is a wine called GMVV, named for its Grenache-Mourvedre-Vermentino-Viognier blend and retailing at $60-$70. The latter is intended to have aging potential and show a more complex side of rosé.

While the majority of Bertrand’s wines retail between $10-$20, this year he’s laying a marker down at the prestige level with a new wine, Clos d’Ora, which he calls “the first Grand Cru of the South of France.” Sourced from a 22-acre vineyard on a former sheep farm in the Minervois La Liviniere appellation, Clos d’Ora’s debut offering is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan. Just under 10,000 bottles were produced for the inaugural 2012 vintage, carrying a retail price of $250 each.

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