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Top 10 wine brands

Once again, the drinks business has compiled a ranking of the world’s top 10 wine brands by global volume sales.

Fine wine cellarFor many of these biggest players in the industry, especially those based in countries with strong currencies, the current emphasis lies in ensuring that their impressive volume figures are balanced by healthy profits.

As a result, several of this year’s entries have settled for stable volumes over exciting growth as they adjust strategies to focus on strengthening the more premium tiers of their portfolio.

Unusually this year, it is not the top ranked brand that grabs attention so much as the one lying quietly but unmistakably in second place. Few consumers in traditional wine markets will even be aware of its existence, but it’s a name that fellow brand owners should be keeping a watchful eye on.

We have previously revealed the world’s biggest Champagne brands and the top 10 spirits brands.

Read on to find out who made the cut for this year’s top 10 wine brands.

10. Jacob’s Creek

Jacobs Creek Pinot NoirVolume 2011: 6,800,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 6,900,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 1.5%
2011 ranking: 9

In a challenging environment for Australian wines, Jacob’s Creek grew by 1.5% in 2011/12. In addition to growth in its home market of Australia, the brand posted a 32% increase in China. To bolster its premium position in the Chinese market, the brand launched 1837 The Solway Cabernet Merlot, a tribute to the ship which brought its founder, Johann Gramp, to Australia in 1837. This was complemented in 2012/13 by the addition of the Barrel Selection Range, another China exclusive, as well as Jacob’s Creek WAH – a wine specifically designed to be paired with sushi, for the Japanese market.

The brand’s “True Character” campaign continues to develop, linked to its association with international tennis events by a partnership with Andre Agassi.

Brand owner: Pernod Ricard
Head office: 12 Places des Etats-Unis, 75783 Paris Cedex 16, France
Tel: +33 (0)141 00 41 00
Website: jacobscreek.com
Global brand director: Derek Oliver
PR (UK): Weber Shandwick
Tel: +44 (0)20 7067 0000

Product range: Classic, Regional Reserve, Sparkling, Cool Harvest, Moscato, St Hugo and Heritage Range. China only: Barrel Selection, 1837 The Solway. Japan only: WAH

9. Lindeman’s

LindemansVolume 2011: 7,000,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 7,000,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 0%
2011 ranking: 8

Founded in 1843 and now under the aegis of Treasury Wine Estates, Lindeman’s has built a global business from its Hunter Valley base.

The brand’s ethos remains inspired by the belief of its founder, Dr Henry Lindeman, that “the one purpose of wine is to bring happiness”.

Having first arrived in the UK in 1862, Lindeman’s has continued to enact its founder’s philosophy with a focus on making wines that are approachable and accessible, supported by ongoing accolades that testify to its quality.

The Lindeman’s Bin Series aims to provide great value for money, an achievement that was recognised most recently by the inclusion of its £8.99 Bin 50 Shiraz 2012 in wine writer Matthew Jukes’ latest “100 Best Australian Wines”.

Meanwhile the Winemaker’s Discovery series extends the brand’s reach to wines from South Africa and Chile.

Brand owner: Treasury Wine Estates
Head office: Regal House, 70 London Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3QS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 8843 8411
Website: lindemans.com
Marketing director: Mathew Bird
PR (in-house): Adam Withrington

Product range: Cawarra, Bin Series, Reserve, Winemaker’s Discovery

8. Beringer

BeringerVolume 2011: 8,000,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 8,000,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 0%
2011 ranking: 6

Beringer saw a stable performance in 2012 as the business looked to expand beyond its core US market, while remaining in line with parent company Treasury Wine Estates’ stated strategic emphasis on pursuing “profitable growth”.

In the US, this growth was led by the country’s ongoing Moscato trend through its Beringer Light & Refreshing label, as well as a strong performance from the brand’s luxury tiers. In Europe the brand saw a packaging refresh and the UK launch of Beringer Classics.

The brand continued with major global partnerships such as the PGA golf tour.

At the top end there was continued critical acclaim for Beringer luxury wines, with recent score highlights including its 2009 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Brand owner: Treasury Wine Estates
Head office: Regal House, 70 London Road, Middlesex TW1 3QS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 8843 8411
Website: beringer.com
Marketing director: David Trebilcock
PR (in-house): Adam Withrington

Product range: Classics Collection, Stone Cellars, Founders’ Estate, Knights Valley, Napa Valley, Private Reserve

7. Robert Mondavi

Robert MondaviVolume 2011: 10,866,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 11,220,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 3.3%
2011 ranking: 4

This year sees Constellation Brands mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Mondavi, not only the man behind this brand, but who can also claim credit for shaping much of the Californian wine industry we see today. Following a toast on his birthday, 18 June, the winery renamed one of the best blocks in its To Kalon Vineyard “Robert’s Block”.

Offering a general forecast for the company’s wine and spirits business, Constellation CEO Rob Sands remarked: “We believe our positive marketplace momentum and continuing focus on innovation, brand building and sales execution positions us to grow volume at least in-line with the US wine and spirits category and generate favorable product mix in fiscal 2014.”

However, with Robert Mondavi counted among the firm’s “Focus Brands”, Sands warned of “the anticipated impact of higher grape costs and additional marketing investments” for these, which “are expected to result in operating income growth for the wine and spirits business that is below net sales growth.”

Brand owner: Constellation Brands
Head office: 7801 St. Helena Highway Oakville, CA, 94562 USA
Tel: +1 585 678 7100
Website: robertmondaviwinery.com
Marketing manager: Liz Edwards
PR (in-house): Anne Siegel

Product range: Napa Valley Wines, Reserve Wines, District Wines, Spotlight Wines, Woodbridge wines

6. Sutter Home

Sutter HomeVolume 2011: 11,113,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 11,400,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 2.6%
2011 ranking: 7

The history of Sutter Home Winery dates back to the late 1800s, when a Swiss-German immigrant established a small winery and distillery in Napa Valley. After purchasing the company in 1948, the Trinchero Family has grown it to the current level, thanks in particular to the creation of White Zinfandel in the early 1970s and introduction of high-quality, affordably priced wines during the ‘80s and ‘90s.

In 2012 the brand added two new wines to its range: Pink Pinot Grigio and Red Moscato. 2013 has so far seen the brand unveil updated packaging with a simplified logo, brighter colours and modernising removal of the Sutter Home Victorian house from its label. On the back label, a new flavour profile bar offers stylistic information, with additional advice on food matches.

Brand owner: Trinchero Family Estates
Head office: 100 St. Helena Highway St. Helena, CA, 94574 USA
Tel: +1 707 963 3104
Website: tfewines.com
Marketing director: Wendy Nyberg
PR Director: Nora Feeley

Product range: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Moscato, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Sweet Red, Sauvignon Blanc, White Merlot, White Zinfandel, Zinfandel, Pink Moscato, Bubbly Moscato, Bubbly Pink Moscato, Pinot Noir, Sweet White, Riesling, Pink Pinot Grigio, Red Moscato

5. Yellow Tail

Yellow TailVolume 2011: 12,900,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 12,900,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 0%
2011 ranking: 3

Created in 2001, Yellow Tail quickly became one of Australia’s greatest export success stories, accounting for one in five bottles sold by the country abroad and 40% of the Australian wine sold in the US. “When we created Yellow Tail, we wanted to keep wine fun and simple. We didn’t want to intimidate wine lovers, rather to embrace them and enhance their social lives,”said John Casella, managing director of Casella Wines.

In the face of profitability pressures created by the ongoing strength of the Australian dollar, the brand has kept volumes stable and stepped up its marketing activities. October last year saw Yellow Tail launch its biggest ever through-the-line campaign, “Colourful Thinkers Join Us”, to raise brand awareness in the UK. Activities included national press advertising, in-store activity and sampling.

The activity culminated with experiential sampling at the BBC Birmingham Good Food Show in December.

Brand owner: Casella Wines
Head office: Wakley Road, Yenda, nsw 2681 Australia
Tel: +61 2 6961 3000
Website: yellowtail.com
Marketing manager: Libby Nutt
PR (UK): Clarion Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7479 0910

Product range: Yellow Tail Bubbles, Yellow Tail Reserve, Limited Release

4. Concha y Toro

Concha y ToroVolume 2011: 12,965,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 13,640,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 5.2%
2011 ranking: 2

Product range: Don Melchor, Carmin de Peumo, Gravas del Maipo, Amelia, Terrunyo, Marques de Casa Concha, Gran Reserva S Riberas, Casillero del Diablo and Trio. (Other group brands not included in this ranking: Cono Sur, Palo Alto, Viña Maipo, Maycas del Limarí, Trivento, Fetzer and Bonterra)
Established over 130 years ago, today Concha y Toro accounts for 33% of total Chilean global exports. This Concha y Toro branded portfolio forms part of the company’s total 2012 sales of 30.2m cases, once other brands such as Trivento and Fetzer are factored in.

In 2012 flagship Casillero del Diablo grew by 8% to hit global sales of 3.4 million cases, boosted by a strategic partnership with Manchester United.

Growth has been even stronger in the super-premium category, with a volume increase of 21%, driven by Marques de Casa Concha and the introduction of Gran Reserva Serie Riberas in the US.

With 66.5% of sales volume now under its own distribution, 2012 saw the company open offices in Canada and South Africa, and establish the structure to open an office in China.

Brand owner: Concha y Toro
Head office: Avenida Nueva Tajamar 481 Torre Norte, Piso 5, Santiago, Chile
UK tel: +44 (0)1895 813444
Website: conchaytoro.com
CEO: Eduardo Guilisasti
PR (UK): Westbury Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 8682 9020

3. Hardys

HardysVolume 2011: 13,768,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 14,000,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 1.7%
2011 ranking: 5

One hundred and sixty years after its inception in South Australia, the Hardys label can be found in more than 80 countries around the globe and is the biggest-selling Australian wine brand in the UK. In 2012 Hardys continued to raise its profile in the UK and other key markets with a combination of marketing, brand investment and key retailer support. In the UK its sponsorship of the popular BBC Good Food Show continued and the company stepped up its focus on Hardys’ premium tiers, including the launch of new label, William Hardy.

The brand also continued to support its customers by creating limited edition labels with several key customers.

Finally, August 2012 saw Hardys make its first entrance into the Ukrainian market.

Brand owner: Accolade Wines
Head office: Reynell Road, Reynella SA, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)8 8392 2222
Website: accolade-wines.com
Brand controller: Neil Anderson
PR (UK): Clarion Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7479 0910

Product range: Voyage, VR, Stamp of Australia, Nottage Hill, Crest, Oomoo, Chronicles, HRB, Sir James Sparkling, Eileen Hardy, Thomas Hardy and William Hardy

2. Great Wall

Great WallVolume 2011: 14,000,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 15,500,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: 10.7%
2011 ranking: new entry

It may not register is traditional wine markets but China’s state-owned and largest wine brand has been quietly making an impressive impact. Not content with dominating domestic production, Great Wall is now looking to take a share in the country’s 20% year-on-year imported wine boom by selling its own globally sourced wine.

Speaking to the drinks business earlier this year, Cofco Wines & Spirits senior manager Shu Yu said: “We will make a French Great Wall, a Chilean Great Wall and an Australian Great Wall,” predicting that these will reach the market next year.

Employing Michel Rolland as consultant, COFCO bought Château de Viaud in Lalande de Pomerol in February 2011 for €10m, and Chile’s Bisquertt Vineyard at the end of 2010 for US$18m.

“I think our next step will be Australia,” Yu predicted, suggesting that the Barossa Valley would be the preferred region for a vineyard purchase. He also confirmed further plans for investment in the US.

With such a base, Great Wall poses an intimidating challenge for any brands eyeing a share of the Chinese market.

Brand owner: Cofco Wines & Spirits Co.
Head office: F11, Tower A, Cofco Plaza, 8 Jianguomennei Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005
Tel: +86 10 8500 6688
Website: greatwallwine.com.cn
Senior manager: Mr Shu Yu
Product range: Château Sungod, Terroir Wine

1. Gallo

GalloVolume 2011: 15,070,000 9l cases
Volume 2012: 16,000,000 9l cases
Change 11-12: +6.2%
2011 ranking: 1

With sales split fairly evenly between its domestic and export markets, Gallo continues to invest heavily not just in following trends, but in creating them. 2012 saw the brand claim a 42% share of a US Moscato market that had leapt by 73% in the previous year. On the back of this success, Gallo launched its 8.5% abv Gallo Moscato in the UK as part of a plan “to invest more money in Moscato than we have ever invested in any single product launch in the UK.”

Building on this momentum, the company has used 2013 to launch its 5.5% abv Gallo Summer White, a partner for the Summer Red introduced in 2011. In other parts of its extensive portfolio, whose annual sales are estimated to top 70m cases, the company has added a 9% abv Barefoot Pink Moscato and extended Californian red blend Apothic beyond the US and Canada by launching in the UK.

Brand owner: E&J Gallo Winery
Head office: 600 Yosemite Boulevard Modesto, CA, 95354 USA
UK tel: +44 (0)1895 813444
Website: gallo.com
EU general manager: Bill Roberts
PR (UK): Cube Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 8401 5505

Product range: Gallo Family Vineyards, Turning Leaf, Coastal Vineyards, Signature Series. (Other group brands not included in this ranking: Redwood Creek, Barefoot, Apothic, Frei Brothers Reserve, Mirassou, Dancing Bull, Starborough).

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