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Packaging Innovations Abound As Winemakers Look To Tap New Audiences

June 24, 2015

Intent on targeting a wider range of drinking occasions and demographic groups, wine marketers are increasingly looking beyond the traditional glass bottle when it comes to packaging their wares. Single-serve wine offerings are becoming popular within outdoor and sporting event settings, and larger-format premium boxed wines are seeing success with everyday wine drinkers seeking both quality and value. More recently, keg formats have allowed wine-on-tap to become a significant on-premise trend, offering flexibility and cost-savings to bars and restaurants with by-the-glass programs.

Single-serve wine packaging has been featured in a number of new product launches in recent months. This spring, The Wine Group extended its Flipflop franchise with a new line of canned offerings, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Fizzy Sangria and Fizzy Crisp White in 250-ml. four-packs ($12). Likewise, Connecticut-based importer and marketer Votto Vines entered the single-serve category this year with its Vinaago own-label wine brand ($2.99 a 187-ml.). Meanwhile, television personality Giuliana Rancic partnered with Walmart to launch her Xo, G range ($10)—which offers a 750-ml. in the form of four individually-packaged glasses—late last year. Those rollouts followed 187-ml. single-serve introductions from Zipz ($3-$4 a 187-ml.), Copa di Vino ($36 a 12-pack) and Stack Wines ($12-$13 a four-pack).

While single-serve options have multiplied across the market, the premium three-liter boxed wine segment is also attracting new contenders. Following the success of Black Box (Constellation) and Bota Box (DFV Wines)—both long-running Impact “Hot Brands”—E.&J. Gallo recently unveiled Vin Vault ($20), a new three-liter boxed brand featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Malbec and Red Blend offerings. “We’re targeting premium drinkers who consume wine regularly,” said Gallo’s vice president of marketing, Stephanie Gallo. “There’s a sea change occurring in consumers’ perception of wine. It’s becoming a casual social beverage as an adjunct to the dinner table.”

Wine-on-tap has also continued to gain traction, with Napa-based Free Flow Wines—which kegs more than 300 premium wine offerings—linking up with Banfi Vintners’ Eufloria sparkling wine brand to launch what it claims is the first sparkling wine in keg format. Another one of Free Flow’s partners, California’s J. Lohr Vineyards, has announced plans to expand its recently-launched wine-on-tap program into several new markets by the end of this year. “The program is going great—the wine lasts for several months inside a keg, and the advantage for the on-premise is that you don’t have the spoilage factor,” says Steve Lohr, chairman and CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards. “Also, accounts that can afford to put in the tap equipment tend to be newer restaurants that target Millennial consumers, and it’s a great way to gain exposure (for your brand).”

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