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Burgundy Stalwart Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. Sees Domestic Portfolio Gain Traction

July 5, 2018

Owned by Burgundy’s Drouhin family, New York-based Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. has seen success for its Burgundy-centered portfolio, with growth of 25% so far in 2018. Across its roughly 500 SKUs, the company’s core segments—Burgundy, rosé, and Champagne—have been the main contributors to that momentum, but domestic brands are also playing an increasing role. “We’re now much more of a player on the domestic side,” says Dreyfus, Ashby president John Caruso. “Even though we’re still primarily importing wine, we’ve developed a solid portfolio of domestic offerings to take to market.” Overall, Dreyfus, Ashby is targeting 500,000 cases this year.

Recently added U.S. labels include Napa Valley’s Ulysses, which launched in 2016. Ulysses is produced by Christian Moueix, who also oversees Bordeaux’s Château Trotanoy, likewise imported by Dreyfus, Ashby. Ulysses is an estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon ($179 a 750-ml.) from the Oakville district that’s 100% allocated and sells out of every vintage. Caruso says it’s the only type of project that interests Dreyfus, Ashby within the California market—targeted squarely at the high end and not volume-driven.

Dreyfus, Ashby’s Pacific Northwest portfolio is also performing well, led by the Domaine Drouhin Oregon and RoseRock Oregon labels. “We’re on track to be about an 80,000-case supplier from Oregon, so we’re not a small player there,” Caruso says. The company’s proprietary Oregon brand, Cloudline ($20), is also on the rise, up 40% this year, according to Caruso. He adds that in Washington, Dusted Valley—a Walla Walla Valley-based property that specializes in estate-grown Chardonnay and Bordeaux varietals—is seeing gains as well.

France continues to comprise the lion’s share of Dreyfus, Ashby’s volume, and business there is healthy. “We’re up around 25% in Burgundy,” Caruso says, with Chablis and other whites leading the way. The Drouhin family owns more than 60 labels in the region. Dreyfus, Ashby took on its most recent French label—Châteauneuf-du-Pape property Domaine de la Solitude—in December. Caruso believes Solitude’s high-performing entry tier ($14-$19) will help spread name recognition for the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region as a whole.

Rosé and Champagne are also propelling growth for the company. Rhône Valley rosé brand Château de Campuget is in double-digit growth, and sparkling rosé from Alsace-based Dopff & Irion is also on a strong rise, according to Caruso. Champagne Drappier, which has been in the Dreyfus, Ashby portfolio since 2014, is up 50% year-to-date. Elsewhere in France, Caruso is seeing renewed interest in Bordeaux as well, across a range of price points.

Looking ahead, Caruso envisions more portfolio additions at the top end of the market. “Our goal is to represent a leading winery from every region around the world,” he says. “Whether it’s Europe, New Zealand, South Africa—wherever.” To that end, he notes that Dreyfus, Ashby is currently eyeing properties in Italy—including Barolo—and the Loire Valley. —Julia Higgins

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