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‘Sessionable’ wine will help boost US wine sales, producers claims

Making wine more ‘sessionable’ will help boost US wine sales and appeal to new consumers, a leading US wine producer has claimed.

Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing at E&J Gallo Winery said one of the biggest challenges – as well as the biggest opportunity – in the US market was to continue growing wine sales, but to do so, the focus needed to be not just on selling wine, but on “selling wine in the style, packaging and price points to meet the evolving needs of our consumer”.

This included innovation and making wines more “sessionable,” fun and friendly to appeal to new entrants into the wine category, she argued.

“One of the core values of E & J. Gallo Winery has always been innovation and we want to drive category growth through innovation,” she said. “For example, we have concentrated on category expansion to capture sales from consumers who too often shy away from the wine category choosing to purchase a craft cider, cocktail or beer.”

“We want to provide them an option to meet their needs when they are seeking refreshment such as our popular Barefoot Spritzers. It is a single-serve can that is low in alcohol and lightly carbonated making the wine ‘sessionable’. By placing it in single-serve cans it has enabled us to secure placement in on-premise accounts that have not traditionally promoted wine in a major way such as sports stadiums, outdoor festivals and concert facilities.”

The producer first launched two spritzers in a screwtop bottle in 2013 but last year rolled out the lines in a seasonal can format, adding two new flavours, moscato and rosé, this Spring and making the cans a permanent addition.

She said the results had been “very encouraging” and the fact that there was a strong population demographic coming of age should benefit the wine industry for years to come “provided we continue to meet the needs of current and future wine drinkers.”

“Millennials are fuelling the growth of the wine category and their behaviour is dramatically different than their predecessors. As a winery, we’re witnessing a paradigm shift in how and when people learn about and enjoy wine,” she continued.

Speaking to db about the wider US wine retail landscape, she argued that the US consumer was becoming more knowledgeable about wine and as a result, savvy retailers were moving away from the “sterile wall of wine” to embrace greater interaction with consumers, particularly in grocery and warehouse stores.

“Many of our larger retail customers have made wine a strategic category and have reinvented the category, moving the department to high traffic locations and expanding their assortments,” she told db.

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