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Accolade Wines Aims High With New J-Harden Brand, In Partnership With NBA Star

July 18, 2022

Australia-based Accolade Wines is the fifth-largest wine marketer globally, according to Impact Databank, with volume of approximately 35 million cases. Owned by The Carlyle Group, Accolade has a smaller presence in the U.S., but it’s aiming to change that, in part via a new brand partnership with NBA star James Harden.

Enrique Morgan, Accolade’s managing director for the Americas, calls the J-Harden brand a “full-bodied, jammy, and uncomplicated wine offering from California.” Given strong retailer feedback and placement with players such as Gopuff, BevMo, Liquor Barn, and H-E-B, Accolade is targeting about 100,000 cases in the first year for J-Harden, which retails at $17 a 750-ml. and will debut September 1. “We hope to bridge the gap with consumers that are not currently in the market for wine,” Morgan tells SND.

Morgan says the new brand is made to stand out on the shelf with bright colors, floral design, and a likeness of Harden’s trademark beard. “James is famed throughout the world for his electrifying and iconic presence both on and off the court, and this brand combines James’s loves for fashion, art, style, and wine,” he adds. In a release, Harden, who has an equity stake in the brand, said his “goal is to make a high-quality product that can be enjoyed by the masses at a reasonable price.”

Made in collaboration with Jam Shed, an existing Accolade brand that’s popular in the U.K., J-Harden is initially launching with a California Cabernet Sauvignon and a California Red Blend. “You always need to consider what’s next and how we can propel this brand to the next level,” says Morgan. “We definitely have plans in this space as we are looking to build the J-Harden brand within the next year and offer some exciting line extensions.”

Along with launching J-Harden, Accolade is focused on a number of other U.S. growth opportunities over the next few years. They include recruiting new consumers with the Echo Falls fruit-infused portfolio, continuing to build the Da Luca Prosecco and New Zealand-based Mud House brands, and targeting the Australian luxury segment with labels including Hardys, House of Arras, Petaluma, Grant Burge, and St Hallett.—Daniel Marsteller

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