Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics - March/April 2017

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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56 Beverage Dynamics • March/April 2017 — an all-time best for the brand. The wine has successfully tapped into the authentic "farm-to- table" trend with its new Malbec de Mecardo release. Launched exclusively for Whole Foods Market's Holiday Top Ten 2016 na- tional promotion, it was the fastest-selling wine in the program set. "Organic and sustainable wines, having previously been embraced by a small niche, are now attracting a much wider base," Nelson says. "And demand is growing." So too are more consumers focused on varietals that are unique, rather than from the same-old dominant regions. Nelson sees a ris- ing interest in "off-the-beaten-path wine regions," especially among younger Millennials, who are "interested in trying new varietals and wines from regions they may have never heard of." RED BLENDS GO BIG Red blends are rising in popularity, including 14 Hands from Wash- ington State. Launched in 2005 as a restaurant-only brand with three varietals — Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay — the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates brand exceeded 2 million cases sold in 2016. This represents a 10% growth over 2015, and won the brand a Fast Track award. It's all the more impressive for a label that was under 1 million cases as recently as 2011. Helping fuel this climb has been the 14 Hands Hot to Trot red blend, the third best-selling premium red blend in the market, says Cary Kloster, VP of marketing for 14 Hands. "We continue to see strong growth in red blend wines," Kloster adds. "14 Hands is well positioned to meet this consumer demand with Hot to Trot, Stampede and the limited release, Kentucky Derby Red Blend." Another company that's ridden the red-blend wave to growth is Michael David Winery. The producer's Freakshow red blend grew an incredible 63.5% in 2016 to 139,000 cases, earning a Rising Star award. The company also makes Petite Petit. Although it's a Pe- tite Sirah (blended with 15% Petit Verdot), the brand is commonly placed in red-wine sections in stores and menus. That's likely to its advantage. Launched in 2014, Petite Petit al- ready reached 100,000 cases by 2016 (thanks to a 36.4% growth over 2015) and won a Fast Track award. Being considered a red blend has "opened the consumer base for this wine as people continue to experiment in this category and try new things," says Melissa Phillips Stroud, VP of sales and marketing for Michael David Winery. "It's a fun category, and I'm happy consumers are so open to it," she adds. "Not only is this a new outlet for Petite Petit, but it also gave our winemakers a chance to create new wine that they can get creative with." PREMIUMIZATION PAYS OFF Tapping into one trend alone is not enough to reach the level of success attained last year by Michael David Winery. Other factors are necessary, including a consumer willingness to spend more on premium bottles like Freakshow and Petite Petit. "We aren't trying to compete in the $9.99 world, or even at $11.99," says Phillips Stroud. "We have a different competitive set from the big guys, and it works to our advantage." Consumers who will open their wallet for better products allow Michael David Winery to "continue to make the best wine we can INTERVIEW WITH ENORE CEOLA, CEO OF MIONETTO Mionetto received a Fast Track award for its recent rise up the sales charts. The brand increased sales 10.9% in 2016 to reach 610,000 cases sold (overtaking 600,000 for the fi rst time). We spoke with Enore Ceola, Mionetto USA CEO and managing director, about the milestone. Beverage Dynamics: What industry trends are helping your brand? Enore Ceola: Sparkling wines, like prosecco, are well on their way to expand beyond special occasion usage—and at very attractive price points. BD: What marketing programs and activations do you have planned for 2017? EC: We will again run the 'Pink Cork' program to benefi t breast cancer research/survival and innovative VAPs, as well as stronger merchandising and display program throughout the year. In addition, we will continue to engage our consumers throughout a robust campaign via social media, advertising and events. BD: What off-premise marketing programs and activations in 2016 led to your brand's success? EC: Our quality message and education about our heritage are resonating with consumers. The new consumers programs like our 'Pink Cork' and merchandising have been very helpful to gain visibility, as well as VAP's. TALKING ABOUT WHISPERING ANGEL Chateau d'Esclans earned a Fast Track award for its continued success and upward trajectory last year. The brand's Whispering Angel rosé is a category-defi ning top-seller. Overall the brand grew 69.5% to reach 200,000 cases for the fi rst time. We talked with Paul Chevalier, national fi ne wine director at Shaw-Ross International Importers, about the company's red-hot brand. Beverage Dynamics:What's behind your off- premise success in 2017? PC: We created the rosé category in America. Whispering Angel in retail outsells all other rosé brands four-to-one in the U.S. BD: What marketing programs and activations do you have planned for 2017? PC: We are releasing our 10th anniversary vintage of the Whispering Angel rosé. The theme will be "Celebrating 10 years of Rosé all Day." BD: What industry trends are most impacting sales of the brand right now? PC: Over 50% of our sales are with Millennials. Millennials don't want fake brands that come from some big, wine-producing- type factory. They want authentic. And that is why Whispering Angel works. 2017 GROWTH BRANDS WINE 2017 GROWTH BRANDS WINE

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