The former executives from E&J Gallo and Constellation Brands came together to form Aspira, which is launching a brand portfolio of wines in Asia. From the press release:
SANTA BARBARA, CA–(Marketwired – Aug 13, 2014) – Today two wine industry veterans on different continents announced they are joining forces with noted import/export experts to form the Aspira Corporation. As part of a long-term plan to introduce a broad portfolio of wines into Asia, Aspira will launch Sunterra as its first brand to be sold in China. John Kochis, CEO, has long seen the opportunity in Asia but needed the right team and the right brand.
“Asia presents a once in a lifetime opportunity in the wine space,” states 42 year old Kochis. “The wine category is very underdeveloped and new consumers are emerging daily. California wines are beginning to gain momentum as this new consumer is looking west for brands and experiences…there is no question that this is a multi-billion dollar opportunity.”
A recent ten day tour visiting importers and distributors across mainland China substantiated this statement as 50,000 bottles were ordered and are due to arrive in China next month. Hong Kong based and newly appointed Aspira COO and Co-Founder Bong Ha was the key component to solidifying these first orders. Living and working in Asia for the past two decades, Ha has developed strategic relationships with dozens of import and distributor partners and has seen the market evolve quickly.
“Over the last several years I have watched the demand for California wines increase and with the growing middle class, this is a critical time for brand building,” says Ha. “The barriers to entry are high and you have to be patient, but for those who are willing to invest, the returns will be great.”
The wines in the Aspira portfolio are sourced from regions throughout California with offerings from the Central Coast to Napa. Up-and-coming winemaker Ryan Roark was brought in to lead the winemaking efforts. Having made wine in France and New Zealand, Ryan settled on California’s Central Coast to build his future.
“I am thrilled to have the chance to promote California wines in Asia,” says Roark. “We all know the power and the promise of the California wine industry, but there is heavy lifting to do in Asia. France, Australia & Chile have strong footholds on the market but there is a lot of runway for California. Education will be paramount to building Sunterra and the Aspira portfolio.”
Operating offices in Santa Barbara, CA and Hong Kong, Aspira Corporation’s mission is to build global brands for the emerging wine consumer.