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Banfi Sees Promise In Pacific Northwest And Organic Wines

July 31, 2018

While Banfi Vintners remains best known for its Italian portfolio, the New York-based importer and marketer also continues to strengthen its position in the fast-growing Pacific Northwest segment. Banfi’s Washington-sourced Pacific Rim brand slipped last year—down 7.6% to 107,000 cases—but its Rainstorm range, from Oregon, hit 38,000 cases on nearly 70% growth. In June of last year, Banfi’s Mariani family acquired Willamette Valley-based Firesteed Cellars, with plans to make the site a new brand home for Rainstorm. The Rainstorm lineup currently features a Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Silver Linings rosé retailing at around $14-$17.

Growing from a smaller base are other Pacific Northwest brands such as Washington’s Silver Totem and Eufloria. The core Eufloria lineup includes rosé, white, and sparkling expressions (around $10), and was recently extended with new canned offerings. Eufloria’s canned wines, including a frizzante-style white and rosé, are priced at around $8 a 375-ml.

Banfi’s organic Natura label, which is produced by Chile’s Emiliana Vineyards, is similarly on the upswing. Retailing at around $11, Natura rose nearly 10% to 115,000 cases in 2017. The range’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and rosé are among the brand’s top-selling labels. Banfi president and CEO Cristina Mariani-May calls organic wine “a trend that’s not going to slow down anytime soon.”

Natura, along with the core Emiliana brand and portfoliomate Walnut Crest, now represent Banfi’s sole Chilean offerings, following the company’s sale of its stake in the former Excelsior Wines joint venture to partner Concha y Toro earlier this summer.—Christina Jelski

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