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Premium-Plus Imported Wines Continue Fast Rise, Led By Italy, New Zealand

May 21, 2018

Though the U.S. market’s total imported wine segment was roughly flat at 67 million 9-liter case depletions last year, according to Impact Databank, the category is seeing significant gains at the premium level. The top 10 imported brands retailing at above $10 a 750-ml. shot ahead by an aggregate 16% last year to more than 9 million cases. Progress was primarily driven by premium-plus offerings from Italy—the leading import segment by value, whose shipments were worth $1.35 billion last year—as well as New Zealand.

Riboli Family Wine Estates’ Stella Rosa remains the largest player in the premium-plus segment, nearing 1.7 million cases on 28% growth last year. The brand, whose core portfolio includes Rosso, Moscato D’Asti, Peach, Pink, and Berry wines ($11-$12 a 750-ml.), now ranks among the U.S. market’s top five imported wine brands overall, and is the only top-five brand priced above $10.

Fellow Italian import Ruffino (Constellation Brands) is also among the top sellers in the premium category. While Ruffino’s still wines slipped 1.1% in 2017 to 870,000 cases, its Prosecco extension continued to pick up steam, rising 19% to 440,000 cases. Other premium-plus standouts in the Italian segment include Roscato (Palm Bay International), which surged nearly 25% last year, and the Moscato-focused Bartenura brand (Royal Wine Corp.), which has more than tripled in volume since 2010. Meanwhile, Santa Margherita returned to growth last year, increasing 1.5% to 640,000 cases.

Among New Zealand’s many fast-growing players, Constellation’s Kim Crawford remains the top seller. Closing in on 1.3 million cases, the Kiwi brand is building on its success with its higher-end Signature Reserve range, which recently debuted with a Sauvignon Blanc retailing at $25. “New Zealand wines continue to command a price premium of almost double the overall imported category,” notes Chris Stenzel, president, wine and spirits at Constellation Brands. Also enjoying growth within the New Zealand segment is Kim Crawford portfoliomate Nobilo, which rose 0.8% to 620,000 cases last year, as well as Oyster Bay (Delegat USA), up 12% to 800,000 cases. Another New Zealand premium label on the upswing is Starborough (E. & J. Gallo), which grew 6% to 445,000 cases.

Though Italy and New Zealand dominate among the premium-plus tier’s leading brands, Treasury Wine Estates’ Australian label 19 Crimes is also making waves. The millennial-focused brand crossed 1 million cases last year, bolstered by its 19 Crimes Red Blend and Hard Chard, the brand’s first white wine. —Kimberly Tharel

Top Ten Imported Premium-Plus Table Wine Brands in the U.S.1
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand Importer 2016 2017 Percent
1 Stella Rosa Riboli Family 1,295 1,661 28.2%
2 Kim Crawford Constellation 1,150 1,265 10.0%
3 19 Crimes Treasury Wine 517 1,056 104.4%
4 Ruffino3 Constellation 880 870 -1.1%
5 Alamos E. & J. Gallo 855 825 -3.5%
6 Roscato Palm Bay 650 810 24.7%
7 Oyster Bay Delegat USA 711 800 12.4%
8 Ecco Domani E. & J. Gallo 785 750 -4.5%
9 Santa Margherita SM USA 630 640 1.5%
10 Bartenura Royal Wine 545 635 16.5%
Total Top Ten4 8,018 9,311 16.1%
1 at least $10 a 750-ml. bottle, on average
2 based on unrounded data
3 excludes Prosecco
4 addition of columns may not agree due to rounding


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