Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

Exclusive: Impact’s “Hot Brand” Wines Led By California, Italy

March 29, 2021

While 2020 was a challenging year in the drinks business, Impact’s recently released “Hot Brands” honor roll demonstrates that wine brands across a broad range of origins and styles continue to connect with consumers and drive growth across the industry.

To qualify as Hot Brands, wines must be established brands with double-digit growth in each year from 2018-2020, or established brands with at least 15% growth in 2020. The minimum volume threshold for domestic wines is 250,000 cases, while imports have a minimum of 200,000 cases

A total of 38 wine brands earned Hot Brand awards this year, including 23 domestic labels and 15 imports. California remains the undisputed heavyweight champion of the wine business in the U.S., and the Golden State boasts 16 Hot Brands this year, including multi-million-case players like Bota Box and Josh Cellars along with rising upscale brands like Meiomi and Justin. While California leads the way, the domestic roster also includes wines from regions as diverse as Washington, Oregon, New York, Indiana, and North Carolina.

Conditions were challenging for imported wines last year, due to tariffs—which have since been mercifully suspended—and on-premise restrictions. But 15 brands were able to surmount those obstacles on their way to achieving Hot Brand status. They’re led by offerings from Italy and New Zealand—which continue to draw consumers to their respective folds—but also France, Spain, and Australia, illustrating the underlying consumer demand for imported wines and their resilience in the marketplace.

Domestic wine Hot Brands above 1 million cases include Bota Box, Black Box, Josh Cellars, Apothic, Winking Owl, Barefoot On Tap, Meiomi, Rancho La Gloria, and Decoy By Duckhorn. Imported winners over 1 million cases include Stella Rosa, La Marca, 19 Crimes, Kim Crawford, Roscato, and Oyster Bay.

The full Hot Brands list and analysis for both spirits and wine appears in the March 1&15 issue of Impact. Beer’s Hot Brands will be announced in the June 1&15 edition. Click here to subscribe.

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