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Treasury Expands Into French Wine With Its Upscale Maison de Grand Esprit Range

May 16, 2018

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has turned its focus to France with the upcoming U.S. launch of new luxury brand Maison de Grand Esprit. Initially released across TWE’s Asian markets last year, Maison de Grand Esprit is a range of wines sourced from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, and Provence. A sister Champagne brand is debuting as well. With Maison de Grand Esprit, TWE says it’s aiming to challenge the conventions typically associated with luxury French wine, by simplifying the category and targeting a millennial consumer base.

Maison de Grand Esprit features three separate tiers, each hitting a different price point. At the entry-level is L’Être Magique, which includes red wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy (both $25 a 750-ml.), a Crémant de Bourgogne ($25), and a rosé from Provence ($17). Meanwhile, La Mystèriale (all $45) is more terroir-driven, and consists of a Lussac Saint-Émilion Bordeaux, Santenay Premier Cru Burgundy, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rhône. Finally, the Saint-Estèphe-sourced Grand Esprit ($100) serves as the brand’s highest-end wine. Treasury declined to reveal targets, and would only say that Maison de Grand Esprit is a “global focus brand” that will see a “significant” U.S. investment.

“With the first tier, we’re showing consumers what they can expect in a wine from an overall region,” says winemaker Sebastien Long. “Then, as they progress through the brand, we illustrate how smaller lots, with smaller yields and more concentrated fruit, deliver even greater wines.” All the wines in the Maison de Grand Esprit lineup are made in a full-bodied style that emphasizes bold fruit flavors, in an appeal to American palates.

Starting July 1, Maison de Grand Esprit will roll out exclusively in major U.S. markets, including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Houston, which TWE cites as hubs for millennial consumers. Throughout the launch, TWE plans to rely on techniques that proved successful during the Asia release, such as social media campaigns and experiential events. Additional markets will be added going forward. The entire range will be available both on- and off-premise, and TWE expects that the majority of volume will come from the rosé, Crémant, and Champagne wines.

The release of Maison de Grand Esprit comes amid a renaissance for French wine in the U.S. market. Exports of French still wine to the United States advanced by 14% last year to 12.5 million cases, while value registered an 18.4% gain to €1.13 billion ($1.39b) in 2017. Up until the beginning of this decade, total U.S. imports of all French wines had been in long-term decline, but since then they’ve been in growth mode, driven largely by the rosé boom. —Julia Higgins

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