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Constellation’s Ruffino Eyes Premiumization In Prosecco, Pinot Grigio

March 23, 2017

Italy’s Ruffino has nearly doubled in size in the U.S. market since 2011, the year Constellation acquired full control of the brand. Led primarily by its Chianti business—which commands a roughly 20% share of the Chianti category and almost half the luxury segment—Ruffino’s U.S. volume grew 11% to nearly 1.3 million cases in 2016, earning the franchise Impact “Hot Brand” honors. Along with the core Chianti, Ruffino’s Prosecco has caught on with U.S. consumers, surpassing 300,000 cases last year, Impact Databank estimates.

Last year, Ruffino also debuted a new sparkling rosé ($15), sourced from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. “I was expecting a little bit of cannibalization between the Prosecco and the rosé, but that hasn’t happened. It’s just bringing more consumers, especially Millennials, into the brand,” Ruffino CEO Sandro Sartor tells SND.

This spring, Ruffino is relaunching its Il Ducale Toscana IGT ($18) as a “modern Italian red blend” composed of 60% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 15% Syrah and focused toward the retail channel. “We’re entering the red blend arena with a good product that we’ve researched and fine-tuned in order to be successful in North American markets,” says Sartor.

Sartor adds that as consumers become more familiar with Prosecco, he expects the category to premiumize, with price points and quality reaching new heights. Ruffino is also eyeing upward movement in the Pinot Grigio segment, where its Lumina bottling continues to show steady single-digit growth amidst a competitive market.

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