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Far Niente Wine Estates Hunts Vineyards To Keep Growth Rolling

November 7, 2022

Napa Valley’s Far Niente Wine Estates has been a company on the move lately, last year acquiring both the former Provenence winery in Rutherford from Treasury Wine Estates as well as the Carneros-based Gran Val vineyard as it looks to bolster supply of its namesake flagship label and portfoliomates Nickel & Nickel, Bella Union, EnRoute, Dolce, and Post & Beam. Backed by private equity GI Partners, Far Niente’s overall portfolio is growing by double-digits, according to vice president of marketing Kate McManus.

“We’ve got red and white wines ranging from $40 to $400,” McManus notes. “When you get into the higher price points, consumers aren’t quite as sensitive to inflation. We came back really strong with restaurants opening back up, because a lot of our brands are 50% or 60% on-premise through the wholesale tier.”

For upscale labels like Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel, the challenge is mostly about meeting demand, she adds. “When we meet with our distributors, they say, ‘The only complaint we have about Far Niente is you guys can’t make enough wine.’ We continue to look for more vineyards so we can increase supply and keep growing. We have really strong growth on both brands.” Far Niente winery produced 23,000 cases and 42,000 cases of its Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) and Napa Valley Chardonnay ($70) respectively for the 2019 vintage, with its Oakville Cabernet ($200) accounting for another 4,000-9,000 cases in recent vintages.

EnRoute is another key brand at the higher end of the market, focused on Pinot Noir. “EnRoute is sort of like the Nickel & Nickel of the Russian River. It’s the same playbook of single vineyard wines from around the appellation,” says McManus. The EnRoute range also includes a more widely distributed Les Pommiers bottling, which retails at $60 and totaled 18,500 cases for the 2019 vintage. “There’s been a real commitment to by-the-glass pours with Les Pommiers. It’s been growing at a nice pace,” she adds.

Post & Beam, which launched during the pandemic, is off to a strong start at a slightly lower price point, having shipped 60,000 cases total since debuting two years ago. The brand’s Napa Valley Cab ($50) and Chardonnay ($40) are billed as weeknight wines for consumers of the higher-end labels, as well as a gateway to the larger Far Niente portfolio, and another opportunity to gain by-the-glass pours on-premise, says McManus.

Bella Union is also aimed at expanding Far Niente’s audience. The future of the brand lies at the recently acquired former Provenance winery that’s now undergoing a renovation project, including a new hospitality center, targeted for completion in spring of 2024. “There’s going to be different blends coming out every year, different varietals from different areas, from Cabernet to Sauvignon Blanc to Grenache, Zinfandel, and Syrah,” McManus says. “I think Bella Union is an opportunity for us to bring some younger consumers up into our portfolio.”

 

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