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Royal Wine Corp’s Bartenura Sees Strong Progress At Moscato’s Premium Level

September 14, 2015

While Moscato has exploded from 6 million cases in the U.S. in 2010 to more than 15 million cases in 2014, according to Impact Databank, much of the action has been at the lower end of the market.

But among Moscatos retailing at $10 and above, Italian import Bartenura ($11-$13) has been a driving force. Bartenura, an Impact “Hot Brand,” has posted annual volume increases of nearly 50,000 cases in each of the past three years. Last year it reached total volume of more than 400,000-cases on 11% growth. Bartenura marketer Royal Wine Corp. tells SND that the brand’s double-digit growth trend is continuing this year, as higher-priced Moscatos continue to gain traction.

Indeed, while the vast majority of Moscato is sold at retail prices below $9 a bottle, brands at the $9-$15 price point rose at a nearly 20% rate last year in Nielsen channels. “Big brands turned up the volume and brought Moscato to the masses,” says Nathan Herzog, Royal Wine Corp.’s president. “Now the $4.99-$5.99 price point has somewhat slowed, but premium Moscato is growing.” Beyond Moscato, the Bartenura portfolio includes a Bracchetto, Malvasia, Asti, Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and several other wines. Herzog says the brand is up about 27% year-on-year so far in 2015.

While Bartenura leads the way, Royal Wine has also seen its California-based Jeunesse brand ($10) rise to about 60,000 cases currently from only 10,000 cases in 2010. Jeunesse was among the pioneers in the semisweet red category that’s seen rampant growth in recent years, and has expanded to include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Black Muscat and other offerings. The brand was originally conceived as a bridge product to help move entry-level wine consumers up the ladder to premium wines like Royal’s Baron Herzog.

Both Jeunesse and Baron Herzog, which sells around 120,000 cases annually, are based at the company’s Oxnard, California winery, which produces 200,000 cases a year. On the new product front, Royal is debuting a new premium Chenin Blanc, Chen(in), in both bag-in-box and bottle format this fall, along with Zinfandel sibling label Z(in).

Mordy Herzog, who serves as Royal Wine’s CEO, says the company’s activity as a wholesaler in New York and New Jersey provides key insight into what brand concepts have potential for wider distribution. “We’re becoming more aggressive, using our New York-New Jersey distribution business as a base to create brands and hopefully take them national,” he says. “We’re working on our own whiskey project that we’ll introduce in October, including an American whiskey, a rye and a Bourbon.”

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