FYI News, Notes & Trends

VinExpo AMERICAS Makes Its Case

VinExpo Americas — the New World extension of VinExpo, the renowned wine and spirits showcase held in Bordeaux every two years — is returning to the U.S. this year after its inaugural show in New York City in 2002. Approximately 600 wine and spirits producers from about 30 countries are slated to participate in the show, scheduled for June 20-22, at McCormick place in Chicago. The show is targeted at the professional wine and spirits trade.

Several educational seminars, lectures and tastings are key components of the three-day event. Robert Parker will be participating in one forum, along with other industry leaders, which will address the impact of French wines on the U.S. market.


At the press event officially announcing the upcoming Chicago-based VinExpo Americas, the organization also presented a wide-ranging statistical analysis of the global wine and spirits business. (The data was compiled for VinExpo by IWSR/GDR, a London-based research firm.)


Some of the interesting facts reported in the VinExpo Americas/IWSR/GDR study are:

  • Retail dollar volume of worldwide wine sales are projected to grow by more than 12% (from 2002 to 2007), from $101.6 billion to $114.2 billion. At the same time, worldwide spirits retail sales are projected to increase 8.5%, from $153.4 billion to $166.5 billion.
  • The U.S. leads the world in retail sales of wine, with 18.37% of worldwide dollars. That number is projected to increase almost 16% (from 2002 to 2007) to more than $18.6 billion. In second place is the U.K, which will see more than a 25% increase by 2007, to almost $13 billion.

BOXED WINES Growing at Grocery and Liquor Stores Nationwide

Boxed wines have been around for quite awhile. Indeed, millions of cases of wine packaged in 5-liter boxes are being sold each year under the Franzia (The Wine Group), Peter Vella (E&J Gallo) and Almaden (Canandaigua) labels. Some studies suggest that about 20% of all wine consumed in the U.S. is poured from wine-in-a-box. Recently, these popular 5-liter packages have been joined on the shelves by 3-liter boxes; however, these 3-liter boxes contain premium wine from wineries such as Sonoma Hill, Trinchero, Corbett Canyon, BRL Hardys and the latest, Delicato.0404fyi1

Delicato’s 3-liter Bota Box.

The quality of these wines refute the belief — apocryphal or not — that bag-in-the-box wine is run-of-the-mill at best. Indeed, several reports have pointed out that good-quality wine has been available in boxed packages in Europe and Australia for several years now.

Though its look is hardly upscale, the proponents of boxed wine say it has several advantages over conventionally bottled wine, the most significant of which is boxed wine’s ability to stay fresh for a much longer period of time after opening. The interior collapsible bag protects the wine from the harmful effects of air, which can oxidize the wine in an opened bottle after three or four days. In addition, the box itself keeps the harmful effects of light away from the wine. Thus, boxed wine producers say, their wines stay fresh for four to six weeks.

Convenience is another advantage, proponents of boxed wine say. For example, someone who might want to drink just one glass of wine might hesitate to open a bottle. Boxed wine allows that wine drinker to consume a single glass and then put away the wine for several days without fear of it going bad.

From a winery’s point of view, shipping costs are greatly reduced because the boxes weigh less than the equivalent volume of glass bottles. And for consumers, the cost is very competitive compared to the price of an equivalent amount of premium wine in a bottle. For example, late last year Delicato Family Vineyards released three award-winning premium varietal wines in its 3-liter Bota Box, which boasts its own specially designed spigot and collapsible bag to prevent oxygen from reaching the wine. The 3-liter boxes of Delicato Shiraz, Merlot and Chardonnay all retail for about $18, which is equivalent to about $4.50 per 750 ml bottle.


Anheuser-Busch debuted Bacardi Silver Limón, a lemon-flavored extension to its flavored malt beverage line; it joins Bacardi Silver, Bacardi Silver O3 and Bacardi Silver Raz . . . Sol Dios Tequila has been added to the Shaw-Ross International Importers portfolio. The tequila is made from 100% agave and aged for at least three years in oak barrels… Beringer Blass Wine Estates named Jamie Odell, currently managing director, Trade Asia Pacific, to chief operating officer, global trade; Dan Leese, to managing director, Trade Americas . . . Fischer Beverages International has changed its name to Star Brand Imports, the result of a substantial reorganization of the company. A member of the Heineken Group, Star imports and markets the Paulaner, Moretti, Hacker-Pschorr, Murphy’s, Affligem and Fischer brands in the U.S. . . . The Boston Beer Company announced the promotion of two sales executives: Robert Vail was named director, on-premise accounts, and will continue to be division manager for New England; George Ward was named director, off-premise accounts, training, and division manager of Mid-Atlantic states.


Times Are Changing and So Must We …



Mike Mouvet, Vice President, Corporate Off-Premise, Allied Domecq Spirits, North America

By Mike Mouvet

This past year was no different from the rest, at least from the perspective of change — the only difference may be that the pace of change in our industry has accelerated. Distributors and retailers continued to evolve as they sought new ways to compete more effectively and efficiently. Consumers continued to purchase premium spirits while seeking new, more flavorful products — many from brands they had come to know and trust. It became imperative to the future of the supplier to listen more carefully to the trade and the consumer, and provide the products and services needed to meet the demands of this changing marketplace. At Allied Domecq, this has become our philosophy — to listen and be proactive — to be the “First Choice Supplier” in the hearts and minds of our customers.

Major events in 2003 included the Southern California grocery union strikes and the resulting increase in spirits sales at club stores, drug stores and large independent chains. This created some unique opportunities and tough balancing acts for suppliers, as well as distributors. The ones who saw success were the companies that were able to work with their customers to evaluate and adjust accordingly, not necessarily sticking with the established playbook. Rather, developing new strategies and mutually agreed upon performance measures to get the job done, as was the case between Allied Domecq and the company’s California distributor, Southern Wines and Spirits.

Wine and spirit distributors also continued the trend of realignment in 2003. Improved account coverage and enhanced capabilities became the primary focus in an attempt to establish their own competitive advantage in serving this challenging marketplace. Suppliers played their role to support distributor efforts, providing not just premium portfolios, but valuable consumer insights that allowed their partners to move faster and with more assurance. At Allied Domecq, we strive to be a proactive partner, lending our years of expertise and know-how early in the game to assure success for everyone involved.

On the consumer front, the hot trend was — and still is — flavors. According to AC Nielsen the spirits industry grew 2% in 2003, while flavored spirits have grown over 15%. The flavors category was fueled primarily by premium vodka, but also by rum and gin. Allied Domecq is well represented in all flavor categories, including Stoli Vanil, Razberi, and Ohranj; Malibu Coconut Rum and Kuya Fusion Rum; and WET by Beefeater™. We listened to consumers and offered new, innovative products to address consumer demand. This spring, Allied Domecq will introduce two exotic new flavors from Malibu — Pineapple and Mango.

At Allied Domecq, we embrace the future — every day will bring new changes and new opportunities. With our “First Choice Supplier” mission firmly in place, we are poised and ready to meet the future head on.


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