Top 10 global wine brands 2017
Love them or loathe them, millennials are becoming an increasingly important and influential demographic in the global wine market, which is now worth €29 billion. In the globe’s largest wine consuming country – the US – they now account for 36% of the market and are starting to ditch beer in favour of wine.
Encouragingly, wine lovers in the US are adopting a ‘less is better’ philosophy, with sales of wine over $10 a bottle on the rise. But while Americans may be spending more on wine, boxed wine brand Franzia remains the world’s best-selling wine brand with a 0.7% share of the global market, according to Euromonitor.
Global wine consumption remained stable last year at 242 million hectolitres. Both the US and China are driving the growth of the market – wine sales in the US are predicted to grow to $38.6 billion by 2020 and the country has retained its crown as the world’s largest wine consumer since 2011. Rosé is enjoying its moment in the sun in America right now, where sales of Provence pinks nearly doubled last year to 11.4 million litres.
Americans guzzled 31.8 million hectolitres of wine in 2016, while Chinese consumption rose by 7% to 17.3 million h/l, valued at US$15.5 billion. By 2020 China is expected to have leapfrogged the UK to become the second most valuable market for wine behind the US.
China imported an impressive 638 million litres of wine last year, at a value of US$2.4 billon.
Proving how serious the country is about producing as well as drinking wine, China’s land under vine increased by 17,000 hectares last year to 847,000 hectares, putting it second only to Spain, which leads the way on 975,000 hectares, with France lagging behind in third on 785,000 hectares.
China has emerged as the one to watch in the wine market. Consumption is currently 60% homemade at the moment, though imports are on the rise. In terms of wine production however, Italy is out in front, having made 50.9 million hectolitres of wine last year.
France was close behind on 43.5m h/l, while Spain came in third, producing 39.3m h/l in 2016. Total wine production around the world dipped by 3% last year to 267 million hectolitres.
In the UK, Prosecco continues to dominate the headlines and sales, as the Italian sparkler is increasingly viewed as an everyday treat. Prosecco now accounts for over half of sparkling wine sales in the UK off-trade, with Brits quaffing over a third of the total production of Prosecco DOC last year – 112.7 million litres.
Volume sales of sparkling wine in the UK are predicted to rise by 13% between now and 2019, with the category now worth over £1 billion in Britain.
China is being slated as the next big market for sparkling wine, with the category expected to grow by 43% in the country between now and 2020 as fizz moves beyond the confines of special occasions to become more of an everyday drink.
With the powerhouses of the US and China dominating the global wine game last year, it’s unsurprising that the majority of brands in our top 10 hail from these two nations – five from the US and two from China.
We’re keeping an eye on Chile’s Concha y Toro though, which is steadily rising to the top of the table with wines that outperform for their price points. Read on for our round up of the top 10 biggest-selling wine brands in the world last year. Sales figures are based on a combination of data provided by the brand owners and industry estimates.
10: GREAT WALL
Brand owner: China Foods Limited
Head office: F11, Tower A, Cofco Plaza, 8 Jianguomennei Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005
Tel: +86 10 8500 6688
Senior manager: Shu Yu
Product range: Varietal range, Château Sungod, Terroir Wine, Star Grade
Volume 2015: 7.8m 9l cases Volume 2016: 7m 9l cases Change: -10.2%%
Great Wall saw its global sales dip by 10.2% last year to 7 million cases as consumer demand for domestic wine in China waned. Conversely, COFCO’s imported wine business division grew by 147% to US$58.9 million last year.
With vineyard holdings in Shandong province, the company, which is owned by COFCO, makes red, white, rosé, sweet, sparkling and fortified wines, which it sells at home and in 20 export markets including the UK, US, France and Germany. Its top Cabernet costs in the region of £50. In a response to sliding sales, in July COFCO started a search for a new general manager for Great Wall.
In March Beijing Business Daily reported that COFCO was looking to merge business related to Baijiu, yellow wine, domestic wine production and imported wines into one department.
Alongside Changyu, Great Wall dominates domestic production in China with 100 wines in its portfolio. It has recently expanded to incorporate Great Wall wines made in other parts of the world, from France and Australia to Chile.
Based in Shacheng in Hebei province in northern China, Great Wall was founded in 1983 and is a subsidiary of state-owned China Foods Limited. Its main office is situated at the foot of the Great Wall of China next to Guanting Lake.
Outside China the brand owns Château de Viaud in Lalande-de-Pomerol, which it bought in 2011 for €10m. Great Wall also benefits from the expertise of the world’s most famous wine consultant, Michel Rolland.
Brand owner: Treasury Wine Estates
Head office: Regal House, 70 London Road, Middlesex TW1 3QS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 8843 8411
Vice-president, marketing: Seth Hynes
PR (in-house): Adam Withrington
Product range: Classics Collection, Stone Cellars, Founders’ Estate, Knights Valley, Napa Valley, Private Reserve, Quantum, Luminous
Volume 2015: 7.3m 9l cases Volume 2016: 7.5m 9l cases Change: +2.7%
Founded in 1876, Beringer is Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places as a California landmark.
Owned today by Treasury Wine Estates, the company enjoyed a strong 2016, pulling in global volume sales of 7.5 million 9-litre cases. Beringer’s luxury tier accounts for around 190,000 cases annually. In 2015, Mark Beringer returned to his namesake estate to look after Beringer’s top tier replacing Laurie Hook.
Beringer, who celebrated his 50th birthday this year, described the opportunity as an “honour to step in and continue the legacy of winemaking that Beringer has long been known for”. He added: “I’m incredibly excited to craft wines that reflect the best of Napa Valley, the same sentiment that led my great-great- grandfather, Jacob Beringer, to establish Beringer in 1876.”
In April the estate added a dry rosé to its Beringer Main & Vine range, the first dry rosé expression in the collection, in conjunction with promotional activities for the brand in the US. Inspired by Provence’s pinks, the wine is said to boast “floral notes and aromas of “passionfruit and red berry”.
Cementing its commitment to engaging with younger consumers, new labels for its Quantum and Luminous brands are directly aimed at millennials, who are driving wine consumption in the US. Aiming to be a ‘wine-travel-lifestyle’ brand, Beringer partnered with Instagram star Murad Osmann on a glossy #BetterBeckons advertising campaign shot within the Beringer estate.
Brand owner: Accolade Wines
Head office: Reynella Road, Reynella SA, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)8 8392 2222
Brand controller: Ade McKeon, general manager for UK & Ireland
Product range: Voyage, Chronicles, VR, Stamp, Crest, Nottage Hill, William Hardy, Oomoo, Sir James Sparkling, Tintara, Eileen Hardy and Thomas Hardy
Volume 2015: 9.5m 9l cases Volume 2016: 9m 9l cases Change: -5%
On sale in 150 countries, Australian wine brand Hardys saw its global sales dip by 5% last year, which the brand’s EMEA marketing director, Paul Hillier, puts down to “a shift in retailers’ promotional strategies”. He continues, “The loss of half price promotions has meant that shoppers are buying less and some have switched out wine altogether”.
In 2014 Hardys became an official partner of England cricket, which it continues to sponsor with above the line advertising and limited edition in-store packs. In 2015 the brand join forces with Sky Sports to sponsor its live coverage of the Ashes. It also became a partner of the MCC, owner of Lords cricket ground. In the UK a £3.5 million advertising campaign – the largest marketing investment by a wine brand in 2015 – celebrated Hardys sponsorship of the England cricket team and played on the rivalry between England and Australia.
Last year the brand stepped up its “premiumisation objective” by unveiling new labels and a tightened regional focus for its William Hardy range. Formerly labelled as simply ‘South Australia’, the Chardonnay now comes from Limestone Coast, while the Shiraz uses Langhorne Creek fruit to create “a clear and credible step up for consumers” from the brand’s Nottage Hill and Hardys Stamp ranges.
“The number of shoppers who buy Hardys off deal has increased in the last year amd Hardys has some of the highest rates of repeat shoppers, showing thriving brand loyalty,” says Hillier.
7: ROBERT MONDAVI
Brand owner: Constellation Brands
Head office: 7801 St. Helena Highway Oakville, CA, 94562 USA
Constellation CEO: Robert Sands
Product range: Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley Wines, Reserve Wines, District Wines, Spotlight Wines, Woodbridge
Volume 2015: 12.m 9l cases Volume 2016: 10m 9l cases Change: -16%
Sales of Robert Mondavi wines slid by 16% last year from 12 million to 10 million 9-litre cases, however sales remain strong in Canada, Switzerland and Japan, as well as at home in the US.
In terms of brand activity, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi continued its presence on TV and social media with its Pairs with Today campaign, which provided an opportunity for the brand to connect with consumers, inspiring and driving new consumption occasions via recipes and food pairings.
Meanwhile, Woodbridge’s holiday partnerships with seasonally relevant brands like Butterball, Marie Callender’s and Sister Shubert’s helped grow retail sales and provide consumers home entertaining tips during the holidays.
Constellation Brands’ senior vice-president Philip Kingston is keen to build the Robert Mondavi brand in China and believes the direct to consumer route is the most effective way.
Last April, Robert Mondavi Winery celebrated its 50th anniversary with a three-day media event at its Napa Valley facility that included the launch of a new wine, Maestro, in honour its founder Robert Mondavi, who died in 2008 and is considered by many as the godfather of Californian wine. The wine is a 2013 Bordeaux-style red blend selected from its Oakville vineyards with an RRP of $50 Winemaker Genevieve Janssens described it as “a serious wine with a humble soul”.
6: SUTTER HOME
Brand owner: Trinchero Family Estates
Head office: 100 St Helena Highway, St Helena, CA, 94574 USA
Tel: +1 707 963 3104
Marketing director: Wendy Nyberg
PR Director: Elizabeth Hooker
Product range: Varietal collection, Red Blend, Sweet Red, Sweet White, Bubbly range, Sangria
Volume 2015: 10m 9l cases Volume 2016: 10.5m 9l cases Change: +7.5%
Ever since it introduced the world to White Zinfandel in the 1970s, this big hitter in the US market has been on the lookout for new styles. In 2014 the company added a ‘Red Blend’, a crowd-pleasing mix of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to its books. The UK, Poland, Ireland and Canada remain Sutter Home’s largest export markets.
“In 2016, Sutter Home made meaningful gains in many international markets. Our largest export markets are the UK, where our focus has been on the on-trade, and Poland, where Sutter Home is a top-selling California wine brand and we’re experiencing double-digit growth,” said Elizabeth Hooker, senior director of communications at Trinchero Family Estates.
“We are also investing to build our business in Central America and the Caribbean where we have a growing presence in several markets including Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica,” she added.
In the drinks business’ Global Cabernet Masters competition last year, in the under £10 bracket Sutter Home’s Cabernet Sauvignon stood out for its “juicy identifiably Cab character”, encouraging judges to single it out as a good entry point to California’s expertise with the grape.
5: YELLOW TAIL
Brand owner: Casella Wines
Head office: 1471 Wakley Road, Yenda, NSW 2681 Australia
Tel: +61 2 6961 3000
Global marketing and export sales manager: Libby Nutt
Tel: +61 2 9330 4700
Product range: Varietal collection, Reserve range, Big Bold Red, Sweet White Roo, Sweet Red Roo, Bubbles range, Sangria, Bondi RD (Australia only)
Volume 2015: 11.5m 9l cases Volume 2017: 11.5m 9l cases Change: 0%
Sales remained steady for Australian wine brand Yellow Tail last year on 11.5 million cases, with the USA, UK and Australia accounting for the lion’s share. “2016 was a good year for Yellow Tail. With the development of new marketing opportunities such as Super Bowl Sunday, the packaging refresh and key trading initiatives with retailers, the brand was well placed to grow share in our priority markets,” said global marketing and export sales manager, Libby Nutt.
“The brand is known for consistent quality and value. This along with investment in consumer marketing activity, strong customer partnerships and a focused innovation pipeline means Yellow Tail continues to build on its success around the world,” she added.
New initiatives include a global social media strategy for the brand and a pack evolution to refresh the look of the brand, increase shelf stand out and improve on quality cues. No other Australian brand comes close to challenging Yellow Tail’s power base in the US, where 100 million cases of the wine have been shipped. To capitalise on this thirst, Yellow Tail invested a healthy sum into an advert that appeared during this year’s Super Bowl, which led to a direct increase of volume and value sales.
Yellow Tail has made the UK a priority market. Among its most successful recent UK marketing initiatives was the ‘Grab Life by the Tail’ campaign, which included sampling activity and a social media drive, along with the launch of the Shriaz dominant Jammy Red Roo expression. Brand owner Casella Family Wines has been moving to bolster its premium offer, snapping up prestigious Australian wine brand Peter Lehmann in 2014.
Brand owner: Changyu Pioneer Wine Co
Head office: 56 Dama Road, Yantai, SDG 264000, China
Tel: + 86 535 663 3658
CEO: Sun Liqiang
Product range: Noble Dragon,Château Changyu Moser, Château Changyu AFIP Global, Baron Balboa, Golden Icewine Valley, Château Changyu-Castel Co Ltd Yantai, Château Changyu Rena
Volume 2015: 15m 9l cases Volume 2016: 15m 9l cases Change: 0%
China’s oldest wine brand extended its lead over rival Great Wall considerably last year, selling over double the volume – 15 million cases to Great Wall’s 7m. Founded in 1819, the brand celebrated the launch of its “crown jewel” last year – a five-strong range produced from 250 hectares under the Château Changyu Moser XV brand.
Taking the Bordeaux model, the range includes ‘grand vin’ Château Changyu Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon, second wine Moser Family Cabernert Sauvignon, and a three-strong varietal range, Moser XV, formed of a Cabernet, Merlot and Riesling, which launched with the 2015 vintage.
Made by Austrian Grüner Veltliner pioneer Lenz Moser, the wines are on sale in the UK through Berry Bros & Rudd and Bibendum. “Changyu is motoring again in China. After a three-year slump it’s showing muscle, energy and a sense of innovation – this is why we’ve created the Château Changyu Moser XV range – the best of China has to offer,” said Moser, who spends the entire harvest at the winery each year in order to ensure the quality from picking to bottling.
The company’s export drive is beginning to show tangible results, having secured distribution in all key European markets and Russia where its Château Changyu Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon has proved a sell-out success.
Illustrating that the company is increasingly looking westwards, in 2015 Changyu bought a 90% stake in Bordeaux Supérieur estate Château Mirefleurs from the Castel Group for €3.3m.
Brand owner: E&J Gallo Winery
Head office: 600 Yosemite Boulevard Modesto, CA, 95354 USA
Tel: +1 209 341 3063 UK Tel: +44 (0)1895 813 444
EMEA general manager: Bill Roberts
Product range: Gallo Family Vineyards, Gallo Family Vineyards Spritz, Gallo Family Vineyards Summer/Autumn, Turning Leaf, Coastal Vineyards, Signature Series
Volume 2015: 15m 9l cases Volume 2016: 15m 9l cases Change: 0%
It’s been a busy year for Californian wine juggernaut Gallo, which snapped up Stagecoach, the largest continuous vineyard in the Napa Valley, for an undisclosed sum in March. Gallo’s acquisition of 1,300 acre vineyard, which lies in Atlas Peak and is planted with over 600 acres of vines, gives serious clout to its premium wine ambitions.
Stagecoach currently supplies grapes to more than 90 wineries ranging from boutique brands to larger-scale producers, with many bearing the vineyard’s name on the label. Gallo has agreed to honour all of the existing contracts.
“Stagecoach provides us the opportunity to continue making and selling luxury wine offerings such as Louis M. Martini, William Hill Estate and Orin Swift,” said Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager of Gallo’s premium wine division.
Its Dark Horse and Apothic Red brands performed strongly in the UK last year, with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Merlot added to the Dark Horse range.
On the acquisition trail, Gallo snapped up Talbott Vineyard in Monterey in 2015 and Orin Swift in Napa last year, tripling its production capacity in Napa while it was at it through the purchase of The Range Winery, a grape-crush facility with a 30,000-tonne capacity.
2: CONCHA Y TORO
Brand owner: Concha y Toro
Head office: Avenida Nueva Tajamar 481 Torre Norte, Piso 15, Santiago, Chile
Tel: +562 2476 5000
UK tel: +44 (0)1895 813 444
CEO: Eduardo Guilisasti
Product range: Don Melchor, Carmín de Peumo, Gravas del Maipo, Amelia, Terrunyo, Marques de Casa Concha, Gran Reserva Serie Riberas, Casillero del Diablo, Trio, Frontera
Other group brands (not included in the ranking): Cono Sur, Palo Alto, Viña Maipo, Maycas del Limarí, Trivento, Fetzer, Bonterra, Almaviva
Volume 2015: 15.2m 9l cases Volume 2016: 16.3m 9l cases Change: +7.2%
Chilean wine giant Concha y Toro had a year to remember for all the right reasons in 2016, with volume sales up 7.2% to 16.3 million cases.
Despite tough market conditions last year due to exchange rate devaluations, in line with the company’s strategic focus, the premium category was the most dynamic, growing 8.6%, with 6.1 million cases sold. The region with the highest expansion was Asia, where sales volumes increased by 23%, reflected by solid growth in China (+90%), Japan (+12%) and Korea (+18%).
CYT has also been successful in building its brands, notably Casillero del Diablo – one of the world’s most powerful wine brands, which grew by 8.6% to 5.4 million cases, with the UK remaining the largest global market for the brand. Over two million cases of Casillero were sold in Britain last year helped by the company’s Wine Legend advertising campaign and recently renewed collaboration with Manchester United football club.
The Marques de Casa Concha label meanwhile, has become one of Chile’s most well respected premium brands with a particular focus on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, with global sales growing by 5.2%, while top drop Don Melchor enjoyed a 17% rise in sales last year.
With 9,400 hectares under vine, Concha y Toro’s wines are on sale in 140 countries. “The long term commitment to quality wines has been championed by the Guilisasti family since the 1960s. Today the company is known for its modern approach, but always puts its passion for wine, and the realisation of Chile’s potential to produce world class wines, first,” said Ben Smith, Concha y Toro UK’s head of communications.
Brand owner: E&J Gallo Winery
Head office: 600 Yosemite Boulevard, Modesto, CA, 95354 USA
Tel: +1 209 341 3063
EMEA general manager: Bill Roberts
UK Tel: +44 (0)1895 813 444
Product range: Barefoot Bubbly, Barefoot, Refresh, Impression, DOC Prosecco
Volume 2015: 22.5m 9l cases Volume 2016: 22.5m 9l cases Change: 0%
Retaining its crown as the world’s best-selling wine brand, Barefoot’s sales remained steady on 22.5 million cases last year. Enlarging its footprint across the world and building on its reputation as the biggest-selling bottled wine brand on the planet, the brand, owned by E&J Gallo, remains significantly ahead of its nearest competitor, Chile’s Concha y Toro.
Keen to remain relevant through constant reinvention, last year the brand launched a lower alcohol red, white, rosé and sweet spritzer range called Barefoot Refresh alongside 187ml bottles of best-sellers Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Pink Moscato.
In March the brand hit the headlines when its $8 Moscato was used to christen the launch of the US navy’s latest warship, USS Billings. “We settled on using the Barefoot sparkling wine after doing a study using various Champagne brands and bottle types. In the end, we chose the one that broke most consistently when scored. For whatever reason, the Barefoot bottle breaks in all climates from 10° below to 100° F and always produces a consistent splash for photography,” a spokesperson told Wine Spectator.
This month Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing at E&J Gallo Winery, told db that 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 way the brand is achieving this goal is by packaging its spritzers in cans, making them festival friendly. New additions to the spritzer range this spring included a Moscato and a rosé.
“As a winery, we’re witnessing a paradigm shift in how and when people learn about and enjoy wine,” Gallo added. Serving as a ‘gateway’ brand into the wine world, a third of Barefoot’s consumers are new to the wine category. Recent additions to the range in the UK include Barefoot Malbec, Pink Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, all priced at £6.99.