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Bonterra, 1000 Stories Drive Growth For Fetzer

March 20, 2018

Concha y Toro’s Fetzer Vineyards is seeing strong progress for its Bonterra and 1000 Stories brands, boosting growth for the company as its namesake label continues to vie for share in the highly competitive under-$10 segment of the wine market. The expansion of Bonterra and 1000 Stories has helped Hopland, California-based Fetzer improve its product mix in recent years. In 2012, only about 10% of the company’s sales were in the above-$10 a bottle arena. Now, that above-$10 segment has a nearly one-third share of the business.

Bonterra, known for its organic wines, crossed 400,000 cases in the U.S. on 13% growth last year, according to Impact Databank, and has expanded by nearly 70% over the past five years. Fetzer CEO Giancarlo Bianchetti tells SND that Bonterra is seeing a solid performance across its core lineup, which includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot retailing from around $12-$15 a bottle, as well as its Pinot Noir, which sits at about $19. Last year, Bonterra extended with a rosé of Pinot Noir at $15 and is increasing output from 2,500 cases to 11,000 cases for this year based on the enthusiastic response. Also, this spring, the core Bonterra range is being extended with a new Equinox red blend positioned in the $15 area.

Fetzer’s Bourbon barrel-aged 1000 Stories label ($19) is likewise seeing rapid growth, rising 45% to 90,000 cases in 2017. Bianchetti says the brand’s core Zinfandel still has plenty of upside despite rising competition in the Bourbon barrel-aged wine market, which has seen a host of entrants in recent years, including offerings from Constellation’s Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Terlato’s The Federalist, and most recently TWE’s Beringer, among others. Meanwhile, 1000 Stories added a new Gold Rush Red blend earlier this year, and has been experimenting with some limited offerings like a Petite Sirah and a Carignan that’s slated to launch around Father’s Day.

As 1000 Stories and Bonterra drive gains, Fetzer’s flagship brand has seen more challenging conditions. Volume has slipped in recent years, but still remains over 1 million cases in the U.S. In celebration of the winery’s 50th anniversary this year, Fetzer is launching a limited Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($13). Marketing efforts continue to focus on Fetzer’s history of sustainable farming, which Bianchetti cites as a key point of difference in the crowded $10 area of the wine category.—Daniel Marsteller

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