Rapper E-40’s wine a sell-out success

West Coast rapper E-40’s three strong range of wines from California’s Central Valley is proving a sell-out success in the States.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, over 180,000 bottles of Earl Stevens Selections, named after the rapper’s birth name, have been sold in California this year, while a bottle signing by the 46-year-old rapper at a Sacramento branch of Costo in March drew over 1,000 fans.

Having added the brand to its portfolio in January, Southern Wine & Spirits is struggling to keep up with demand for the trio, which has become one of the company’s fastest growing brands, accounting for US$2m in net sales.

“It’s been phenomenal. It just took off and we couldn’t keep up – and really, it’s just getting started,” Paul Thompson, vice president and regional sales director for Southern Wine & Spirits told the Sacramento Bee.

Earl Stevens Selections

Earl Stevens Selections

Sales of Earl Stevens Selections have vastly surpassed those of other celebrity wines in the Southern portfolio, including Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl range.

Ranging from US$9.99 to $15.99, the trio Earl Stevens Selections is comprised of Function, a blend of Lodi Zinfandel and Cabernet, a Moscato and fruity 18% abv fortified wine Mangoscato, which is the best seller of the three.

The range was created by UC Davis graduate Steve Burch, who has been pleasantly surprised by how warmly the wines have been received.

“Winemakers dream about that kind of success. I’d be happy to do the kind of sales in five years that Earl Stevens Selections has done in six months. It’s insane,” Burch told the Sacramento Bee.

Made at DFV Wines in Manteca, grapes are sourced from California’s Central Valley. Rather than going for a “bling” label in a bid to attract clubbers and fellow rappers, Stevens has opted for an understated look for the range.

“People think that just because I’m a rapper, the bottle will have musical notes. But this bottle looks like it’s been around for 100 years,” Stevens told the Sacramento Bee.

E-40 has been synonymous with West Coast hip-hop since the early ‘90s.

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