C. Mondavi acquires Bordeaux brand French Blue

C. Mondavi & Family has acquired Bordeaux-based wine brand French Blue in its first move to expand its marketing expertise to sell brands beyond its family-produced portfolio of wines.

Winemaker Stephanie Rivin founded the Bordeaux-based French Blue brand in 2015

The agreement is what C. Mondavi CEO Judd Wallenbrock calls a “strategic alliance” with Flying Blue Imports, an American company that produces the French Blue wines in Bordeaux.

“The bottom line is that French Blue has the makings of something great,” Wallenbrock told db, “and our ‘book’ needed more wine. It’s a great investment for us.”

French Blue Bordeaux Rosé is already in the American market, and C. Mondavi is adding a French Blue Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc with the 2019 vintage.

The introduction of a Bordeaux red is a probable next step. “It would make a lot of sense to have a rosé, a white and a red, and it would add an infusion of excitement for us,” Wallenbrock said.

“We’re excited to be working with C. Mondavi & Family. They are a powerhouse in the wine business, with an energised sales force, and we look forward to working with them to grow the French Blue brand,” said Ryan Kepler, senior vice president of sales at Flying Blue Imports.

Imported wines now make up almost 30% of the American market, Wallenbrock points out, “and that’s a segment that we weren’t touching,”

While not having a growth target, Wallenbrock points out that, as a family-owned winery, C. Mondavi needs to expand.

Now in its fourth generation, the business produces and markets Charles Krug, CK Mondavi and Family, Purple Heart, Flat Top Hills and Divining Rod wines.

Expansion could come with either domestic brands from outside the company’s Napa Valley base or from additional foreign brands, Wallenbrock said.

French Blue was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Roger Scommegna and winemaker Stephanie Rivin. Scommegna has been a founder/partner of Three Thieves wines, owner of the Boonville Hotel and proprietor of the Anderson Valley’s Signal Ridge Vineyard, where Rivin was winemaker.

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