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Pinot Grigio, Prosecco Propel Constellation’s Ruffino To New Heights

March 8, 2016

Since acquiring full control of Ruffino in 2011, Constellation has thrust the Italian wine brand into high gear in the U.S. market. Over the past half-decade, Ruffino has expanded by nearly 75% in the U.S., reaching 1.1 million cases on 10% growth in 2015, according to Impact Databank.

While Ruffino claims a leading share of the Chianti market—controlling about 20% of the category overall, and nearly 50% of the luxury segment through wines like its flagship Riserva Ducale—Constellation tells SND that progress has lately been led by its Lumina Pinot Grigio and Prosecco, which are the two fastest-growing offerings in the franchise. Ruffino’s Prosecco alone leapt 43% to reach a quarter-million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

“The growth seen with Lumina Pinot Grigio and Prosecco are largely driven by a slightly younger consumer, about 25 to 45 years old,” says Scott Ehrlich, Ruffino’s global director of marketing. This spring, Ruffino will target those same consumers with the launch of a sparkling rosé. The new entry, rolling out nationally in May, is an extra-dry style rosé sparkler sourced mainly from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto and retail priced at around $15 a 750-ml. bottle.

As it branches out from its traditional Chianti business to exploit new opportunities across the Italian wine spectrum, Ruffino will look to maintain its current distribution split of about 70% retail to 30% on-premise. Ehrlich says that’s a healthy balance for the brand, “leveraging the breadth and quality of the portfolio to ensure the appropriate wines are available in the right accounts.”

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