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Top 10 Wine Brands 2014

Within a notoriously fragmented wine industry, a number of brands have succeeded in building a presence that makes them household names.

Rose_wine2This year’s list of the 10 biggest wine brands by global volume sales shows little movement within the rankings, although with nearly all the featured labels in growth, it is clear that any newcomers hoping to break into this powerful group have their work cut out.

One notable omission from this collection of brands due to an absence of reliable sales data, is a number of big hitters from China such as Great Wall, Dynasty or Changyu. Although almost all their production is sold domestically, making them little known outside the Far East, you can be sure that major global brand owners looking to tap into the growing base of Chinese consumers are watching them carefully.

One to watch in particular is the state-owned Great Wall, the country’s largest with annual sales estimated at over 15 million bottles. Not content with dominating the domestic production scene, Cofco indicated last year that it had plans to expand its vineyard holdings into other countries too.

Another Chinese casting its gaze further afield is Changyu, which last year named its new €70m facility after Austrian producer Lenz Moser, who consults for a brand that is now available around the world, including UK merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.

That said, although the impact of government austerity measures has been more keenly felt in the luxury spirits sector, there are signs that China’s rapidly expanding domestic wine scene is currently experiencing a marked slowdown.

The recent IWSR Domestic Volume Report – China 2014 reported that local still light wines “declined sharply as the official banqueting business collapsed.” As a result, it recorded a -15% volume decline in China’s wine production last year.

Until China rallies again, as it surely will, it is no coincidence that the world’s other great, but still relatively untapped source of wine consumers continues to provide a significant number of brands in this list.

The US may have a population of over 300 million, but only one third of Americans over the legal age of 21 currently drink wine, according to Stephanie Gallo, vice-president of marketing for her family business.

Nevertheless, slowly but surely, that figure is increasing as wine steadily builds itself a place in popular culture. According to the Californian Wine Institute, in 2012, per capita wine consumption in the US was 2.73 gallons (12.4 litres), up from 2.68 gallons the year before. (These figures include those not of legal drinking age).

That’s an attractive prospect for any wine brand whose business holds a solid base in the US. As even Starbucks gets in on the wine retail act, Gallo puts it, “There is nowhere to go but up.”

Read on to discover the full list and analysis of the world’s top 10 wine brands, based on data sourced either directly from the brands themselves or industry estimates.

10. Jacob’s Creek

39546_jacobs-creek-packagingBrand owner: Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Head office: Level 3, 16 Byfield Street, North Ryde, NSW 2113 Australia

Tel: +61 2 8874 8222

Website: jacobscreek.com

Marketing director: Derek Oliver

PR (UK): Weber Shandwick

Tel: +44 (0)20 7067 0000

Product range: Classic, Reserve, Sparkling, Cool Harvest, Twin Pickings, Moscato, Fine Wines, Barrel Selection (China only), 1837 The Solway (China

only), WAH (Japan only), Lamoon (Thailand only)

Volume 2012: 6.9m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 6.6m 9l cases

Change 12-13: -4.3%

2013 heralded a makeover for Jacob’s Creek as owner Pernod Ricard unveiled a new brand identity for the Australian wine. A vine leaf and creek motif represents the first change to its logo since the brand was created in 1976.

In addition to marketing activity that made Jacob’s Creek the official wine supplier of this year’s Australian Open and an ongoing partnership with actress Naomi Watts for its Cool Harvest range, 2014 sees the introduction of a consumer blending experience. Launched in New Zealand, Blend by Jacob’s Creek pop-up bars will be rolled out worldwide sees winemakers guide guests to mix an array of base wines to match their taste.

This summer the brand unveiled a new Double Barrel range of red wines aged in whisky casks.

9. Beringer

2013-Beringer-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Founders-EstateBrand 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

Volume 2012: 7.1m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 7.2m 9l cases

Change 12-13: 1.4%

Founded back in 1875, Beringer claims the accolade of being Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery.

Now in the hands of Treasury Wine Estates, the brand became the subject of some uncertain rumours at the beginning of this year as new CEO Michael Clarke outlined his plan to revive group profits by exploring cost cutting options.

“We do have too many brands, we need to prioritise our brands and make sure the top end brands get the lion’s share of spend,” he outlined, fuelling speculation that, given Treasury’s particular problems in the US market, California-based Beringer could be a prime target.

For the moment, however, chief winemaker Laurie Hook and her team continue to produce a broad range of wines across the Napa stylistic and price spectrum, with additional vineyards in Knights Valley.

8. Lindeman’s

Semillon-lindeman'sBrand 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

Volume 2012: 7.4m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 7.2m 9l cases

Change 12-13: -2.7%

Part of the Treasury Wine Estates portfolio, Australian brand Lindeman’s set out an ambitious stall at the end of last year as it announced a bid to become the “biggest Australian wine brand in the world”.

The 170-year old label aims to leap-frog its competitors with the launch of a new global digital platform dubbed “It’s the sunshine that makes it.” Having ring-fenced £1m for the UK along, the brand is working to spread a core message of “great moments with friends and family”, alongside a bid to highlight its Hunter Valley roots. Explaining this move, chief winemaker Wayne Falkenberg told the drinks business: “At bin level we’re still a major player in quality but regionally we’ve lost a little ground so we’re bringing back regional wines.”

In order to showcase the Hunter’s character, Lindeman’s is focusing on the region’s signature Semillon and Shiraz, with Falkenberg outlining a plan to lay down some wine as reserve stock for “five to seven years”.

7. Sutter Home

sutter-home-750s-no-pink-mosBrand 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, Red Moscato, Pink Moscato, Bubbly Pink Moscato, Bubbly Moscato, Sweet White Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pink Pinot Grigio

Volume 2012: 11.1 9l cases

Volume 2013: 11.2 9l cases

Change 12-13: 0.9%

Sutter Home has come a long way since Swiss-German immigrant John Thormann established his small winery in Napa Valley during the late 19th century. Even so, the brand’s long-term owner Trinchero Family Estates prides itself on staying true to Thormann’s motto: “A great product for a fair price.”

Today, Sutter Home has 20 different varietal expressions to choose from, including White Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Moscato, Bubbly Moscato and Sauvignon Blanc.

2013 saw Sutter Home receive a makeover with a new label designed to “reflect the evolution of the brand and its consumers.” Strongly focused on the US market, Sutter Home continues to build on established initiatives such as its “Build a Better Burger” contest and ongoing “Hope for Home” campaign to support breast cancer research.

6. Robert Mondavi

1541462321-robert-mondavi-winery-tourBrand 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

Volume 2012: 11.2m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 11.9m 9l cases

Change 12-13: 6.3%

When founder Robert Mondavi established his eponymous winery in 1966, he set in motion a business that would catapult California’s wine industry into the modern era. From winemaking techniques such as stainless steel tanks, cold fermentation and French oak barrels to styles such as Fumé Blanc, Mondavi’s vision shaped the industry.

Now owned by US drinks giant Constellation Brands, last year saw Robert Mondavi Winery mark what would have been the 100th birthday of its founder with a series of celebrations and the renaming of a top block on the estate’s famous To Kalon vineyard “Robert’s Block”.

This year sees the 45th running of The Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Concert Series, while further afield the brand is official wine partner for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants event. Recently the brand also grabbed attention for an unusual collaboration with Californian sunglasses maker Woodzee, which saw some striking shades created from old wine barrels.

5. Yellow Tail

yellow-tail-range1Brand owner: Casella Wines

Head office: 1471 Wakley Road, Yenda, NSW 2681 Australia

Tel: +61 2 6961 3000

Website: casellawines.com

Global marketing & export sales manager: Libby Nutt

Tel: +61 2 9330 4700

Product range: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Pink Moscato, Bubbles, Bubbles Rosé, Sangria, Bondi RD (Australia only)

Volume 2012: 12m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 12.5m 9l cases

Change 12-13: 4.2%

October 2013 marked a milestone for this brand as the one billionth bottle rolled off its production line, fewer than 12 years after Yellow Tail was created in 2001.

Last year also saw the addition of several new lines to the range. These included Yellow Tail Sangria, a variant which blends red wine with citrus flavours for the US and Australian markets, and, unique to the Australian market, Bondi RD: a lightly spritzed Sauvignon Blanc flavoured with either elderflower & mint or ginger & green tea.

In the UK, Yellow Tail claims to the the fastest growing wine brand and the top selling Shiraz. Building on its recent focus on sampling sessions in supermarkets and consumer shows, the brand’s aim in 2014 is to continue raising awareness through its “Are you a bit Yellow Tail?” campaign.

4. Hardys

HardysBrand owner: Accolade Wines

Head office: Reynella Road, Reynella SA, Australia

Tel: +61 (0)8 8392 2222

Website: accolade-wines.com

Brand controller: Paul Schaafsma, general manager for UK, Ireland & AMESCA

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

Volume 2012: 12.9m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 13.2m 9l cases

Change 11-12: 2.3%

It’s a busy – and important – time for the Hardys brand right now. Following its 2012 relaunch and a £10m investment injection from Champ Private Equity, owner of parent company Accolade Wines, the brand is working hard to shore up its more upmarket positioning through a raft of marketing initiatives. In total the brand announced a £1.8m spend in the UK, with a particular emphasis on Chardonnay.

Building on its existing association with Australia cricket, 2013 has seen Hardy’s extend that focus in a three-year sponsorship deal that makes it the official wine of English cricket.

Following the creation of a central London pop up bar this summer, Hardys has now launched its own online shop, The 1853 Club, as a retail showcase for the top end of its portfolio.

Spearheading this activity is Accolade’s new CEO John Ratcliffe, formerly of Oddbins, Seagram and Liberty Wines, who joined the group in February this year, 15 months after the departure of previous CEO Troy Christensen.

3. Concha y Toro

original-219-238-concha-y-toroBrand owner: Concha y Toro

Head office: Avenida Nueva Tajamar 481 Torre Norte, Piso 15, Santiago, Chile

UK tel: +44 (0)1895 813444

Website: conchaytoro.com

CEO: Eduardo Guilisasti

PR (UK): Westbury Communications

Tel: +44 (0)20 8682 9020

Cube Communications

Tel: +44 (0)20 8401 5505

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, Frontera (Other group brands not included in this ranking: Cono Sur, Palo Alto, Viña Maipo, Maycas del Limarí, Trivento, Fetzer, Bonterra and Baron Philippe de Rothchild joint venture Almaviva)

Volume 2012: 13.6m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 13.8m 9l cases

Change 12-13: 1.5%

This 130 year old company currently accounts for 34% of Chile’s total wine exports. Leading this charge is flagship Casillero del Diablo, which achieved 12.2% growth last year to reach global sales of 3.8m cases. Boosted by a new campaign and improved sales strategy, the brand racked up solid 27% growth in the UK, its biggest export market, where the business has now set an ambitious target to double sales in the next five years.

Recent years have seen Concha strengthen its networks around the world so that the firm controls distribution for 65.5% of its total volume sales. In March 2014 the company announced a major new deal with Russian Standard, which now looks after its wines in the Russian market.

2. Gallo

1.-GalloBrand 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)

Volume 2012: 14.8m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 15m 9l cases

Change 12-13: +1.4%

The flagship brand of the world’s largest wine company remains a key fixture on the world’s supermarket shelves. What’s more, it has every reason to maintain this buoyancy if consumer trends in its US heartland are anything to go by. Speaking to the drinks business at the end of last year, vice-president Stephanie Gallo reported on the steadily expanding place for wine in the nation’s culture, helped in part by the emergence of a younger new demographic. “Every morning we wake up there are 11,000 millennials that turn 21, and they don’t view wine as an elitist beverage,” she remarked.

Unsurprisingly, Gallo is determined to tap into this young breed of wine lovers – and not just those in the US. Having already secured a mighty 47% share of the US Moscato market, if you include the company’s Barefoot brand, Gallo recently embarked a UK Moscato campaign, targeted at 25-34-year old women.

1. Barefoot

barefootBrand owner: E&J Gallo Winery

Head office: 600 Yosemite Boulevard Modesto, CA, 95354 USA

UK tel: +44 (0)1895 813444

Website: barefootwine.com

EU general manager: Bill Roberts

PR (UK): Cube Communications

Tel: +44 (0)20 8401 5505

Product range: Barefoot Bubbly, Barefoot, Refresh, Impression, DOC Prosecco

Volume 2012: 16.2m 9l cases

Volume 2013: 16.9m 9l cases

Change 12-13: +4.3%

The Gallo name may be better known, but sharing the same stable is the still more prolific Barefoot brand.

Founded in 1965, when Davis Bynam created “Barefoot Bynam Burgundy”, the Californian brand really began to pick up speed in 1986, before being absorbed by E&J Gallo in 2005.

Recent years have seen Barefoot capitalise on the hip hop artist-fuelled US trend for Moscato, with the brand leading efforts to spark a similar craze in markets such as the UK. Combine that with the UK’s thirst for sparkling wine and rosé styles and it explains why Barefoot chose to introduce Barefoot Bubbly Moscato here in 2013.

Whichever market you look at, Barefoot maintains a marketing focus that is closely tied to its environmentally friendly ethos that puts great emphasis on benefiting local communities. Activities range from beach cleanup operations to a recent “Respect the Mountains” initiative in the UK’s Peak District and Lake District national parks.

For over 25 years now Barefoot has aligned itself with not-for-profit organisations in the US, supporting the various causes championed by its “Soles of the Year”.

This year also saw Barefoot sponsor an event to mark the start of New York Pride.

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