Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Announces Innovation Hub for Emerging Brands

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has launched the ēlicit Wine Project, an innovation hub to develop and incubate new wine brands and products.

“Over the past five years, virtually all growth in the premium wine segment has come from new products – products that didn’t exist prior to that period,” explains Jim Mortensen, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “We’ve successfully introduced several products during this time, but this new team will enable us to move more quickly to bring innovative concepts to market and capture our share of this growth.”

ēlicit Wine Project will be led by Patrick Kozel, previously Director of Insights and Innovation for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and now Director for ēlicit Wine Project. Prior to joining Ste. Michelle in 2011, Kozel held similar roles with Ascentia Wine Estates, Beam Wine Estates and Allied Domecq, and has more than 20 years of wine industry experience in marketing, market research, business development and sales.

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“Coming off the success of brands like Intrinsic and Prayers of Sinner & Saints, we’ve built a team focused on deep consumer understanding and the development of new offerings that challenge the wine industry’s status quo,” says Kozel.

Fruit & Flower, Altered Dimension and Liquid Light.

ēlicit Wine Project will launch three new brands in 2020.

Liquid Light – a sauvignon blanc from Washington State – launched in Illinois and Florida in 2019, and will be available nationwide in January. Inspired by liquid crystals, Liquid Light is a high-acid expression of sauvignon blanc with citrus, tropical and orchard fruit aromas and flavors. Liquid Light retails for $13.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Fruit & Flower includes a chardonnay in 750-ml. bottles, as well as sparkling, chardonnay and rosé in two-packs of 250-ml. cans. All three Fruit & Flower wines feature fruit-forward flavors and floral aromas, along with fruit and flower-themed packaging. The chardonnay retails for $12.99 per bottle, and the 250-ml. varietal cans retail for $10.99 per two-pack. All wines and formats will be available nationwide in January.

Altered Dimension offers three package expressions – black (cabernet sauvignon), white (sauvignon blanc), and pink (rosé) – all retailing for $14.99, and all available nationwide in January.

ēlicit Wine Project will also manage several brands previously introduced under the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio: ANEW, Borne of Fire, The Cosmic Egg Wine Co., Intrinsic Wine Co., MERF Wines, Prayers of Sinners & Saints, and Tenet Wines.

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