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Exclusive: TWE Looks To Boost Penfolds’ U.S. Profile With Super-Premium Max’s Range

May 18, 2017

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is launching a new super-premium wine range in the U.S. market, Penfolds Max’s, looking to increase the stateside presence of one of its most prestigious brands. Penfolds Max’s will initially include a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz-Cabernet, both retailing at $25 a bottle. TWE tells SND that it expects to import about 15,000 cases of each of the Max’s wines this year.

Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago sourced the new entries from premium vineyards in McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Upper Adelaide. The Max’s wines are named for Penfolds’ original winemaker Max Schubert, known for his creation of Grange, Penfolds’ iconic, multi-region red blend. TWE says Penfolds Max’s honors that legacy of featuring multi-regional and multi-varietal blending to achieve consistency of style and quality across vintages.

In an effort to draw younger consumers, Penfolds Max’s wines will be packaged in a bright red shrink-wrapped package, which can be unzipped after purchase to reveal a classic Penfolds bottle.

In a recent interview with SND, Treasury CEO Michael Clarke noted, “With Penfolds, we’ve really only dabbled in the U.S. to this point. Looking into our 2018 fiscal year, we plan to invest behind Penfolds and grow that brand in the U.S.” Last year, Penfolds’ U.S. volume stood at about 80,000 cases, according to Impact Databank, down significantly from Australian wines’ high-flying days of the early and mid-2000s.

Now, however, Australia’s upscale tier is again rallying in the U.S. market. While overall Australian bottled wine shipments to the U.S. fell 6% to 10.8 million cases last year, offerings above $13 a bottle jumped by 59%. —Daniel Marsteller

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