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Interview, Part 1: Chris Indelicato, CEO and President, Delicato Family Wines

August 30, 2022

California’s Delicato Family Wines ranked fifth among all wine marketers in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, with estimated volume of 15.7 million cases. Last year, Delicato acquired Francis Ford Coppola Winery, significantly boosting its presence in the premium wine segment. Delicato is a leader in the 3-liter boxed wine category with Bota Box, a nearly 11-million-case brand that has recently extended into the “better for you” and wine-based-cocktail areas with Bota Box Breeze and Bota’Ritas, respectively. SND senior editor Shane English caught up with Delicato CEO and president Chris Indelicato to discuss the state of the Coppola brand and Delicato’s premium stable, as well as the future of the Bota family of wines.

SND: How’s the first year with Coppola been for the company? What’s coming up for the brand?

Indelicato: We’ve taken a look at the packaging on the Coppola brand. We don’t want any large changes at all because it’s an iconic package. We’re going to add the mesh wiring onto all the Appellation series wines so there’s a little more separation between the California series and the Appellation series on the shelf. We’re expanding the Archimedes estate vineyard up on Pine Mountain so we can expand that brand. Also in the Appellation series, we have a Paso Robles Cabernet now, and it’s really doing well. We’re fortunate that we have supply for that. So we’re really scaling that out and it’s growing dramatically.

We’re launching both Prosecco and Prosecco rosé at $18. I think the timing’s right and, with Coppola’s Italian heritage and the Indelicato family being of Italian heritage, it makes sense for us to have a Prosecco under that brand.

SND: Any other news from the rest of the Coppola family of wines?

Indelicato: The Coppola Director’s Cut has been a sleeper for us. We’re selling everything we have at $22 and we wish we had more supply. We’re going to make a lot more and continue to roll that out. They’re nice wines with great iconic-looking packaging and people really like it for the price point.

SND: How have market conditions been for the brand on- and off-premise?

Indelicato: On the positive side, we’ve been able to grow the number of points of distribution. We’ve grown the number of displays by 20% and the on-premise is up 58% over the last 52 weeks. A lot of that’s the market, obviously recovering on-premise from Covid. It’s gotten a little tougher out there, and while we’re having some success with some of the new things we’re doing, we’re also having to face a more difficult market. With the consumer research we’ve done, we feel like we’re in a position in 2023 to really spend some money pushing and marketing the brand. We like the idea of investing in a difficult market.

SND: How are the other premium wines in Delicato’s portfolio performing?

Indelicato: 1924 is doing extremely well. It’s a great bottle of wine and it has an authentic ring to it with Delicato coming up on its hundred-year anniversary. On Three Finger Jack sales are up 58%. It’s the fastest growing ultra-premium wine brand in the U.S. in 26-week IRI. It’s accelerating right now and is an amazing brand. It’s priced at such a point where you can really put high quality wine in it and you can barrel it and do all the right things.

Delicato Family Wines—Key Brands in the U.S.
Brand Total 2021
IRI Volume
Growth 2022
Bota Box 10,900 -4.5%
Francis Coppola
Diamond Collection
1,015 -5.9%
Noble Vines 570 -17.5%
Bota Box Breeze 365 295.7%
Z Alexander Brown 225 -9.8%
1924 220 -10.3%
Black Stallion 95 -10.7%
Three Finger Jack 80 50.5%
1 Thousands of 9-liter cases.
2 26 weeks ending June 12, 2022, except for Bota Box
(year-to-date ending August 7, 2022).

Source: IRI and IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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