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Led By La Vieille Ferme, Vineyard Brands’ Profile Continues To Rise

February 7, 2018

Birmingham, Alabama-based importer Vineyard Brands has built a portfolio of more than 75 wineries from around the world, ranging from accessible, larger-volume labels to rare, high-end collectibles. The company’s leading brand is French label La Vieille Ferme, which retails in the $10 range and has been enjoying consistent double-digit growth in the U.S. According to Impact Databank, La Vieille Ferme—produced by the Rhône region’s renowned Perrin family—was up nearly 25% to roughly 450,000 nine-liter cases last year.

Vineyard Brands president and CEO Gregory Doody credits La Vieille Ferme’s rosé offshoot with driving much of its recent progress. “La Vieille Ferme’s rosé is well outpacing the brand’s red and white—it’s growing like crazy. There used to be a ‘rosé season,’ with spikes during the summer and around the holidays, but now it’s really year-round,” says Doody.

In addition to the La Vieille Ferme rosé, Vineyard Brands is also seeing surging sales for its super-premium Chateau Miraval, the Provence rosé launched by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2012 in partnership with the Perrin family. Miraval, priced between $20-$25, produces more than 90,000 cases for the U.S. market and, despite its relatively short history, the label already accounts for around 7% of the market for Provence rosé overall. “People are spending more on rosé,” Doody notes, adding that the company is looking to add more rosés at the above-$20 price point in the near future.

Other stars in the Vineyard Brands portfolio include Spain’s Marqués de Cáceres—the group’s second-largest label by volume—as well as South Africa’s Man Family Wines and Argentina’s Tintonegro and Ernesto Catena Vineyards. At the luxury end, Vineyard Brands is active with labels like Burgundy’s Clos de Tart and Bordeaux estate Pétrus, the latter of which joined the group’s fold early this year. (Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.; Maisons Marques & Domaines; and Vintus also jointly handle Pétrus in the U.S.)

In addition to bolstering its rosé offerings, Vineyard Brands is looking to grow its Italian wine stable, which currently includes the Massolino, Gradis’ciutta, Caparzo, Borgo Scopeto, Doga delle Clavule and Umani Ronchi brands. However, Doody emphasizes that the company is in no rush. “We’re picky about what we import. We really have to like the wines, like the people and it has to fit into the portfolio,” he explains. “With all the changes happening in the marketplace and the consolidation among importers and distributors, we’re getting calls every day from brands. But we only work with family-owned wineries, and the brands have to work for us.” —Christina Jelski

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