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Imported Sparkling Wine’s Upswing Continues, Driven By Prosecco

June 23, 2017

The U.S. market’s imported sparkling wine category showed an 8.4% increase to nearly 10 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. That growth is being driven by Prosecco, whose U.S. shipments in 2016 rose by 31% to 5.3 million cases.

Italian sparklers (mainly Prosecco) retailing between $10-$15 grew the fastest, with the top ten brands within that segment combining for a 19% gain last year in the U.S., according to Impact Databank. “Strong value for money is one of the main drivers behind Prosecco,” says Marcy Whitman, senior vice president, brand development and marketing at Palm Bay International, which markets Lunetta Prosecco ($15), among other brands.

E.&J. Gallo’s La Marca is Prosecco’s dominant player, with a 23% volume share. La Marca flew past the 1-million-case mark on a 34.5% rise last year, posting retail sales of about $214 million. Rival Mionetto was up 11% last year to 610,000 cases. Mionetto is targeting 1 million cases within the next three years, and has boosted visibility with an ad spend of $3 million in 2016. Mionetto also formed a partnership with Sonoma-based wine marketer Vintage Point last year that’s focused on growth in the chain channel, as well as expansion in western states.

Among other Prosecco brands, Cupcake (+15% to 610,000 cases), Zonin (+18% to 419,000 cases), Risata (+11% to 390,000 cases) and Ruffino (+25% to 305,000 cases) joined La Marca and Mionetto as Impact “Hot Brands” last year.

Palm Bay’s Lunetta, also a Hot Brand, averaged nearly 20% growth from 2010-2015 and currently is at 263,000 cases. Palm Bay is also seeding growth at Italy’s $25-and-up level with Trento DOC labels Ferrari and Altemasi, which offer a trade-up from Prosecco to the metodo classico style.

The picture is also bright for other leading Italian sparklers, like Bacardi USA’s Martini & Rossi (+19.1% to 523,000 cases) and Terlato Wine Group’s Riondo (+9.5% to 230,000 cases). Riondo combines with higher-end Prosecco brand Nino Franco (selling about 50,000 cases) to give Terlato a potent one-two punch in the category.

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