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U.S. Wine Marketers See Further Upside From Red Blends, Rosés, and Canned Wines

August 20, 2018

With consumers eagerly seeking out new brand propositions across the drinks space, the wine market’s leading players are innovating at a rapid pace. In particular, the thriving rosé, red blend, and canned wine segments are seeing a surge in new product activity.

Among the newer California wine labels on the rise is Delicato Family Vineyards’ Z. Alexander Brown, which launched in 2016 and is now above 100,000 cases. The brand unveiled two new wines this year—Uncaged Chardonnay and Uncaged Sauvignon Blanc (both $20 a 750-ml.), sourced from the North Coast and the Santa Lucia Highlands, respectively. Treasury Wine Estates also has a pair of new California entries in St Huberts The Stag Cabernet Sauvignon and Tunnel of Elms—which combined for just over 30,000 cases last year.

Constellation recently expanded its California portfolio with the launch of new brand 7 Moons ($13)—a blend of seven red grapes sourced from the Central Coast and Lodi—which hit 110,000 cases last year. With 7 Moons, Constellation is capitalizing on the popularity of California red blends, which grew 3.2% to just over 19 million cases in Nielsen channels in 2017. Also active in the Central Coast is Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which has seen rapid growth for its Josh Cellars Reserve ($18) line, which grew to 60,000 cases last year after launching in late 2016.

In the Napa segment, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions’ launched its Quilt label in 2016, and last year the brand reached 15,000 cases. Quilt includes a Chardonnay ($35), Cabernet Sauvignon ($59) and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($100), with the entry-level Cab serving as an introduction to Napa for younger consumers. “Structuring the wine with grapes from the hillsides and blending them with grapes from the valley floor isn’t a new concept,” says Copper Cane owner Joe Wagner. “But with Quilt, we’re at a price point that will get people reacquainted with this aspect of Napa.”

In Washington, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has two newer brands making gains: the on-premise exclusive Drumheller (around $8 a glass), and Intrinsic ($22 a bottle). Ste. Michelle has steadily boosted Intrinsic’s volume, which rose 33% to 76,000 cases in 2017. The brand released a red blend last November, which was at 25,000 cases in its inaugural vintage and joined the existing Cabernet Sauvignon.

Among imports, the ongoing growth of Provence rosé—which jumped 42% to 1.8 million cases overall last year—has new players flocking to the market. Prestige Beverage Group introduced Champs de Provence rosé ($18-$20) in 2016, and the brand grew to 14,000 cases last year. Likewise, Deutsch Family’s new Provence-based Fleurs de Prairie ($18) hit 20,000 cases in 2017, while Trinchero’s rosé label Bieler Pere et Fils advanced by 72% to 62,000 cases in its second year on the market.

New formats like canned wines are also driving innovation. One of the canned category’s newcomers is Lila Wines ($12 a 4-pack of 8.4-ounce cans) from Latitude Beverage, which features a French Rosé, Italian Pinot Grigio, Italian Sparkling, and the newly launched Italian Bubbly Rosé. Lila was up 54% in 2017 to 33,000 cases. The Wine Group has innovated in the canned wine space with its AVA Grace label, which debuted rosé and Pinot Grigio cans ($5 a 375-ml.) this past spring, while Terlato Wine Group is competing in the segment with its Seven Daughters brand ($15 a 4-pack of 250-ml. cans). Also, earlier this summer, E.&J. Gallo extended its Dark Horse brand with a canned format ($7 a 375-ml.).—Julia Higgins

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