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After A Down Year, Kendall-Jackson Regains Momentum

August 11, 2016

Jackson Family Wines’ Kendall-Jackson—the U.S. market’s largest wine brand above $10 a bottle—is back on the upswing in the U.S. After slipping by 2.5% in 2014, the California brand rebounded in 2015, rising 6.5% to 3.35 million cases, according to Impact Databank. Since 2010, Kendall-Jackson—which accounts for more than 60% of Jackson Family’s U.S. volume—has added nearly half a million cases to its total. In the current year-to-date through July 10, the brand remains in positive territory in IRI channels, increasing 0.6% to 720,000 cases. According to Caroline Shaw, EVP and CMO for Jackson Family Wines, a combination of favorable demographic shifts and pricing normalization trends have boosted sales lately.

“From a demographic perspective, the affluent population continues to grow in size, (and) it has simply become a part of our culture to pay for exploration,” Shaw tells SND. “For the past few years, the $10-$15 price range has exploded and become the dominant price tier in the marketplace. In turn, consumers have become used to what this price level in wine represents and it’s piqued curiosity in what the next pricing tier can deliver.”

The core K-J Vintner’s Reserve tier ranges from $13-$24 a 750-ml. bottle at retail. Featuring 10 varietals, Vintner’s Reserve has long been driven by its Chardonnay, though its Pinot Gris, which was launched in 2014, has emerged as a standout, becoming one of the fastest-growing Pinot Gris entries in the $11-$15 price range. Meanwhile, the line-priced K-J Avant portfolio has been successful at drawing in young LDA consumers.

At the higher-end, Kendall-Jackson has a Grand Reserve lineup ($22-$28), and it recently added three small-production, single-appellation wines under the Jackson Estate Collection ($28-$38). Currently in its second vintage, the Jackson Estate range has posted consistent double-digit growth across its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon offerings, and Shaw tells SND that a new Pinot Noir from California’s Petaluma Gap region is slated to join the stable later this year.

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