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Folio Fine Wine Partners Targets French Opportunity

February 18, 2016

Founded in 2004 by the Michael Mondavi family, Folio Fine Wine Partners has enjoyed solid gains lately, averaging about 15% annual growth in recent years, with volume hitting 600,000 cases in 2015. Michael Mondavi tells SND that progress is stemming from higher-priced wines across a portfolio of family-owned properties from California, Italy, Spain, France, Argentina, Austria and Germany.

While Italy and Spain comprise the majority of Folio’s stable—led by the company’s original import partner, Italy’s Marchesi di Frescobaldi—Mondavi sees a lot of upside in French wines looking ahead. Last June, Champagne Charles Heidsieck transitioned to Folio from Rémy Cointreau USA, and at the start of 2016 the Rhône’s Domaine Les Cailloux and André Brunel joined the company from Robert Kacher Selections. The latter move added three wines from Domaine Les Cailloux (retailing from $54-$230), as well as Domaine de la Bécassonne and five Southern Rhône cuvées bottled under the André Brunel brand, including a popular Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($10–$48).

“We still have a tremendous amount of growth opportunity for the Italian and Spanish producers. We haven’t yet scratched the surface of where we should be,” Mondavi says. “But if you look at the U.S. market, the quality French wines are at about the same scale in dollar volume as the Italians, and we’re not very deep into France yet.Five years from now, if we’re selling the same amount of French wine as Italian wine, we’ll almost double our sales.” Folio plans to continue to seek out Burgundy and Rhône producers as a strategic directive, with a focus on partnerships with family wine businesses.

In addition to its imported brands, Folio also produces several California wines from its 15-acre Animo Vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA and the 120-acre Oso Vineyard in Napa Valley’s northeast quadrant, a key source for its Emblem brand. This spring will see the launch of the 2012 Animo Cabernet Sauvignon ($85), as well as the 2014 Emblem Chardonnay ($35) and 2012 M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon ($200).

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