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Opportunity Abounds For Italy’s “Hot Prospect” Wines

September 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Impact revealed its latest crop of “Hot Prospect” brands, including 21 rising imported wine labels. Within that group, Italy accounted for nine winners, led by the Prosecco and Pinot Grigio segments but also including red and sparkling varieties.

Maschio Prosecco, Gemma di Luna, Luna Nuda, and LaLuca are all among the sparkling wines on this year’s Hot Prospects imported wine list. Maschio Prosecco was up 23% to 91,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank, and has roughly doubled since 2015. Frederick Wildman & Sons acquired Maschio from Banfi along with a stable of other Italian brands earlier this year in a deal that boosted Wildman’s volume by some 2 million cases.

Opici Wines’ LaLuca Prosecco surpassed 50,000 cases last year, up 15.4%. Don Opici, managing director of Opici Wines, notes that the brand’s 187-ml. mini bottles are performing particularly well in the market. Opici expanded the LaLuca brand earlier this year, adding a super-premium LaLuca Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco ($23) to the portfolio. In addition to LaLuca, Opici’s Alverdi Pinot Grigio label also made the Hot Prospects list, rising 15.2% to 84,000 cases.

Enovation Brands’ Gemma di Luna returned to the Hot Prospects list for the second year in a row with a 22% increase to 85,000 cases. The brand, which produces a Prosecco, Moscato, and a Pinot Grigio, is one of a handful of Italian Hot Prospects that play in both the sparkling and still markets. Luna Nuda, marketed by Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine, earned its first Hot Prospect win on 61% growth to 53,000 cases, with a portfolio that includes a Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, red blend, and rosé.

Terlato Wine Group earned two spots this year with Cecchi and Terlato Family Vineyards, respectively. Terlato Family Vineyards reached 64,000 cases on 15% growth last year, with its Pinot Grigio from Friuli continuing to drive strong gains. Cecchi, meanwhile, nearly doubled to above 100,000 cases, making it the third-largest of this year’s imported wine Hot Prospects. The brand’s wide ranging portfolio covers Chianti, Umbria, and Brunello, among others. In the past year a Vermentino and Tuscan Red Blend ($19) were added under Cecchi’s La Morra collection.

Elsewhere, Roscato Dark and Smooth from Palm Bay International debuted on the list this year, reaching 53,000 cases in its first year on the market. These offshoots of Palm Bay’s larger Roscato family of releases are new territory for the brand—still wine—which continues to be led by its Rosso Dolce frizzante.—Shane English

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