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Italian Sparkling Wines Abound In Impact’s “Hot Brands” List

April 16, 2020

Italy is by far the U.S. market’s largest imported wine category by volume, and is well represented on the latest Impact “Hot Brands” list. Italian sparklers in particular continue to see robust growth. Eight Italian wine brands earned Hot Brand honors this year, from a total of 16 imports. All those Italian entries offer a sparkling expression, and several winners are entirely focused on the style.

Stella Rosa, imported by California-based Riboli Family Wine Estates, is the largest brand in Italy’s Hot Brand contingent, growing by 19.9% to nearly 2.5 million cases in 2019. Stella Rosa has seen remarkable growth since 2016, tacking on 400,000 cases each year. In addition to core offerings like its Rosé, the Stella Rosa range includes labels like Rosso, Black, Moscato d’Asti, and Peach. Sparklers such as Imperiale Rosso Lux and Imperiale Black Lux have been particularly successful in independent retail channels, according to vice president Steve Riboli.

Taub Family Cos.-owned Roscato grew 10.2% to 982,000 cases in 2019 to earn Hot Brand honors. “Roscato has connected on all aspects of the marketing mix. First and foremost is the quality of the wine,” says director of brand development Hal Cashman. “And the price is working for us. Our premium pricing sets us apart in the sweet wine category as the quality choice.”

Freixenet Mionetto USA’s Mionetto Prosecco made the list for the eleventh year in a row. At 840,000 cases, it grew 12% last year. CEO Enore Ceola attributes the brand’s consistent success to its authenticity and quality—as well as its wide appeal across generations, with millennials continuing to be a key target demographic. “Our status as the first brand to present Prosecco promotion and education helped build a loyal following, who act as true brand ambassadors,” Ceola explains.

Constellation Brands-owned Ruffino Prosecco saw sales advance 10% to 450,000 cases in the U.S. last year. Constellation considers Ruffino one of its “power brands” that it intends to emphasize going forward, having agreed to sell numerous other wine brands to Gallo in a deal worth $1.1 billion. Similarly, Terlato Wine Group’s Riondo Prosecco joins the Hot Brands roster following three years of strong growth. Last year Riondo grew 10.4% to 212,000 cases. The brand, which is joined by the higher-priced Nino Franco Prosecco in the Terlato stable, has added nearly 100,000 cases since 2016.

1821 Fine Wine & Spirits, the U.S. subsidiary of Zonin, has two Italian wine Hot Brands, as Castello del Poggio repeated as a Hot Brand and was joined by Zonin Prosecco. Castello del Poggio reached 879,000 cases last year on 10.4% growth, while Zonin Prosecco accelerated to 15.4% last year to hit 571,000 cases. 1821’s head of consumer and trade marketing Mike Wolff attributes their staying power to the wines’ strong price-value equation. “Both the trade and consumers know they can trust these brands,” he said.

Leading Prosecco label La Marca from E. & J. Gallo maintained its Hot Brand status as well. No.-2 among imported wine Hot Brands by volume, it tacked on a further 225,000 cases on 14.5% growth to approach 1.8 million cases last year. La Marca has two tiers: in addition to the core La Marca label, there’s also Luminore, a Prosecco Superiore from Conegliano Valdobbiadene.—Danny Sullivan

ITALIAN WINE HOT BRANDS (thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Calendar Year Percent
Brand Importer 2018 2019E Change1
Stella Rosa Riboli Family Wine Estates 2,070 2,481 19.9
La Marca Prosecco E. & J. Gallo Winery 1,545 1,770 14.5
Roscato2 Taub Family Cos. 891 982 10.2
Castello del Poggio 1821 Fine Wines & Spirits 796 879 10.4
Mionetto Prosecco Freixenet Mionetto USA 750 840 12.0
Zonin Prosecco 1821 Fine Wines & Spirits 495 571 15.4
Ruffino Prosecco Constellation Brands 410 450 10.0
Riondo Prosecco Terlato Wine Group 192 212 10.4
Total Italian Wine Hot Brands3 7,148 8,185 14.5%
1 Based on unrounded data

2 Excludes Dark & Smooth

3 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding

Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020

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