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Aquilini Beverage Emerging As A Player In Washington Wine

March 4, 2022

Aquilini Beverage Group’s stable of Washington wine brands is only in its second full year of business, but the company is already making its presence felt in the category. The new wine group was founded by the Vancouver, Canada-based Aquilini family, which also owns the Vancouver Canucks NHL team, among other diverse interests. Volume is expected to reach 100,000 cases this year, including existing brands like Dixie & Bass, Roaming Dog, and Chasing Rain as well as several upcoming new products.

“Retail chain markets have been a priority, but we’re now going into independents as well as on-premise as markets reopen,” Aquilini Beverage Group CEO Robert Chin told SND. “Our wines do well on-premise in markets like Boston, which you wouldn’t expect for a Washington brand. Where we are present in retail, our sales velocity rivals many competitive household-name brands. Our opportunity lies in further expanding distribution.”

Aquilini’s top SKU is Dixie & Bass Cabernet Sauvignon, which carries a suggested retail price of $17 and is heavily supported by Costco and Northwest U.S. chains, Chin said. Cabernets from Roaming Dog and Chasing Rain are also on the rise, with Roaming Dog’s expression from the Columbia Valley AVA showing the best current velocity across the portfolio, positioned around $15 a bottle. Chasing Rain, from the Red Mountain AVA, is higher up the pricing ladder at $25.

The Aquilini portfolio is set to expand this spring with two new super-premium offerings. Those will include Gia Bella Cabernet Rosé Bubbly from the Red Mountain AVA, with a suggested retail of $40, as well as a foray into spirits with Blockhead Caramel Popcorn Flavored Whiskey ($28). A range of spirits-based RTDs is also in the pipeline, slated to launch in the fall.

Aquilini’s holdings include just under 550 planted acres on Red Mountain in Eastern Washington and 104 planted acres in the Columbia Valley, as well as about 1,120 acres in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, of which 460 are planted. In addition to its owned vineyards, the company has also leased another 100 acres on Red Mountain, of which 90 acres will be planted over the next two years.—Daniel Marsteller

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