Wine-Based Cocktails Drive Interest, As Wine Looks To Expand Its Audience

As the summer-selling season began in earnest and the demand for pre-packaged drinks continues to trend up, leading wine marketers have been busy maneuvering amidst a tricky economic landscape—trying to bridge the gap between the general market and craft cocktail enthusiasts. Buoyed by last year’s off-premise surge, a slew of wine-based ready-to-drink cocktails have thrived, even though they’re still dwarfed by much bigger malt-based counterparts—especially in the hard seltzer and iced tea arenas. Spirits-based RTDs have also had a big headstart and offer stiff competition for shelf space. Most wine industry players haven’t yet fully participated in the wine-based cocktail category, but that could soon change.

The biggest label in the category is Patco Brands’ Rancho La Gloria, a line of wine-based RTD Margaritas at 13.9% abv. Launched in 2011, it skyrocketed to 1.3 million 9-liter cases last year—up more than 200% from 2019—according to Impact Databank. Gluten-free and made with 100% Blue Weber agave wine, Rancho La Gloria is also sold in canned and popsicle packaging formats, aside from the traditional 750-ml. bottle. Southern Champion’s Buzzballz Chillers is a wine-based offshoot from its larger spirits-based cousin, BuzzBallz. Featuring a lineup of flavors such as Horchata, Lotta Colada, and Hazelnut Latte, Buzzballz Chillers debuted in 2019 and depleted 375,000 cases last year.

The biggest industry player investing in the wine-based cocktail arena is E.&J. Gallo, with its launch of Barefoot Hard Seltzer—which depleted over half-a-million cases in 2020, according to Impact Databank. The line includes Pineapple & Passion Fruit, Cherry & Cranberry, Peach & Nectarine, and Strawberry & Guava flavors that are at 4% abv and retail at $8 a 4-pack and $20 for a variety 12-pack. Aside from seltzer, Gallo also previously introduced Barefoot Spritzer in the canned RTD category—retailing at $3 a 250-ml. can or $9 a four-pack, the spritzer range has an abv of 5.5% and comes in Moscato, Rosé, Summer Red, Crisp White, Red Sangria and Pinot Grigio expressions.

Wine-based cocktails more than doubled in size last year to over 5 million cases overall—according to Impact Databank—and in a space of less than 10 years have already begun to outsell the entire dessert/fortified wine and vermouth/aperitif segments combined. Wine RTDs continue to do well in 2021 as off-premise volumes surged 72% in the half-year ending May 22 in Nielsen channels.

Retail dollars grew even faster, soaring 86% to $161.3 million the past 26 weeks, as higher-priced cocktails profited from drinkers trading up from flavored malt beverages. And although wine-based RTDs have undoubtedly benefited from the off-premise boom during the pandemic, further investment from other major players is expected to keep the category on the rise even after the economy fully recovers.

Leading Wine-Based RTDs In The U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Brand Company 2019 2020 Percent
Change
1
Rancho La Gloria Patco Brands 427 1,300 204.5%
Barefoot Seltzer E.&J. Gallo Winery 525 +
BuzzBallz Chillers Southern Champion 233 414 77.3%
Beatbox Future Proof Brands 100 198 98.5%
Uptown Southern Champion 8 142 +
Flybird Don Sebastiani & Sons 1 107 +
Total Top Five2 769 2,685 249.2%
1 Based on unrounded data.
Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2021

Sources:
Shanken News
Impact DataBank

#wine #winenews #wineeconomics #instawine #winebasedcocktails #winebased #winecocktail #cocktails #summer #summervibes #summer2021 #summercocktails#winetrends #rtd #cocktailgram #winegram

Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario “Uncorked” Wine and Gift Basket Auction

Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario sends a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone that participated in our recent “Uncorked” online auction.  The response exceeded our expectations, and we could not be more pleased and humbled by your thoughtfulness.

The event was a success in part due to our wonderful partner Crafting for a Cure, our generous sponsors, thoughtful donors and the bidding wars that took place at our online auction!

Stay tuned for our press release which will have a complete list of our sponsors, volunteers, and top bids.

Liz Palmer
President, Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario

#corkedwineauction  #fundraiser #lesdames #lesdamesdescoffier #ldei #wineforacause #uncorked #womensupportingwomen #craftingforacure #womeninwine #wine #instawine #womeninhospitality #womeninwinebusiness #torontoevents  #wineauction #wineauctionToronto  #LesdamesON #Charityevent  #wine #onlinewineauction #winelovers #cfc #charity #philanthropy #torontoonlinewineauction #onlineshopping #torontowineauction #thankful #grateful 

Great Italian Wines Masterclass – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties – Fiano and Primitivo

I attended another amazing Masterclass last night. The seminar was led again by the knowledgeable Sandra Colosimo, a member of the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers.

Sandra explored, in-depth, the Fiano and Primitivo varieties. The seminar not only gave me a deeper appreciation of two of the most important varietals of southern Italy, it also gave me a sense of the history and geography of Campania and Puglia (which I love).

Here are details on the two wines tasted:

  1. 2018 Fiano di Avellino DOCG

Varietal: 100% Fiano (organic)
Vinification/Aging: The wine remains on the fine lees for 12 months in stainless steel; further aging 12 months in the bottle
Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes:
Straw-yellow in colour, expresses scents of pear, peach, hazelnuts and aromatic herbal notes on the nose; a fine bouquet opens up to a palate of some smokey and spicy flavours with refreshing minerality; good body and excellent balance.  What a wonderful surprise!

  1. 2017 Carvinea Primitivo (Organic) IGTAging/Vinification: 20-day maceration with skins, aged in French oak 9 months,
    with 6 additional months in the bottle.
    Alcohol: 14.5%

Tasting Notes:
Deep ruby in colour; on the nose are pronounced aromas of mulberry, black plum, black cherry, with slight notes of smoke and vanilla; It’s packed with black cherry, mulberry, spices, vanilla, tobacco and dark chocolate flavours, leading to a long finish; It is a well-balanced wine; tannins are present, but are elegant and soft. Beautiful wine

The two wines were beautifully paired with Terroni Mezzo e Mezzo antipasto plate with specialty meats and cheeses: Prosciutto Crudo di Parma DOP, Soppressata Piccante Grana Padano DOP, Fior di Latte Olive verdi di Cerignola Focaccia Barese.

Wonderful Virtual Experience!  #lovepuglia

#italianwine #toronto #Italianwinelover #wineeducation #wine #instawine #winelover #winelovers #sommlife #sommelier  #terroni
#vino #winestagram #wineoclock #winetasting #wineagency  #trueitaliantaste #masterclass #friday #italianfood #italianstyle #italianwinery #italianwinetasting #redwine #whitewine #extraordinaryitaliantaste #Salento #Puglia #iffoodcouldtalk

@italchambers @trueitaliantaste @cavinonawine

 

New Chianti Classico subzones or ‘UGAs’ have been approved

Last week at the June 2021 assembly of Chianti Classico’s governing Consorzio, a “very large majority” of Consorzio members approved changes to the disciplinare that have the potential to put some separation between the Riserva and the Gran Selezione levels. Here are two key aspects to the proposal:

  • Focus on Sangiovese and native grape varieties

The current rules for all Chianti Classico wines require a minimum of 80% Sangiovese, but the new GS level will strengthen the connection with that variety (and push the wines a little closer to those of Brunello di Montalcino) by raising the requirement to 90%. Additionally, the remaining 0–10% of the wine will be restricted to native Italian grape varieties (e.g., Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, etc.). International varieties will not be permitted in Gran Selezione bottlings; and

  • Zonation

The Consorzio has come to an agreement on a first order of non-overlapping subzones that will allow producers to highlight and promote local variations within the 20-mile-long Chianti Classico denomination. These will be officially known as UGAs (unità geografiche aggiuntive, “additional geographical units”). It does not appear that there will be a requirement for a GS wine to be from a single UGA, but those that are will be able to carry the subzone name on the label.

Chianti Classico DOCG includes all or part of nine communes, and the new UGAs will follow commune boundaries to a large extent (see accompanying map). The communes of Castellina, Gaiole, Radda, and San Casciano will remain intact as subzones, while the three partial communes of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi, and Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa will be combined as the San Donato in Poggio UGA. The commune of Greve will become four UGAs: Greve, the highly regarded frazioni of Panzano and Lamole, and the lesser known frazione Montefioralle. Finally, the southern commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga will be broken into two UGAs: Castelnuovo Berardenga and Vagliagli (which is destined to be added to the list of most mispronounced wine locations).

Apparently, there is already talk about extending the use of these UGAs to the basic and Riserva levels as well as GS.

This proposal will have several hoops to jump through before it becomes official, then the wines will be required at least 2½ years of aging before release.

 

 

Preview Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2021 — by Filippo Magnani

Wine, history and tradition all mixed in this extraordinary wine region!

The “Anteprima” preview of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, usually held in February , was postponed to the 17th and 18th of May. Another great effort by another Tuscany’s consortium, opening their doors to international and Italian journalists. We were summoned to the beautiful town of Montepulciano, in the heart of the village, inside the suggestive Medici fortress where the Consorzio del Vino Nobile and the Enoliteca are located. You can feel the history above your head, surrounded by art, soft hills, vineyards and monuments! Extraordinary. 

The event, this year, is unique in its kind since the Consortium reserved for us a surprise! Indeed the preview was an opportunity to not only to evaluate actual vintages on the market such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018 and the 2017 Reserves, Rosso di Montepulciano DOC 2019 but also to present the exciting new type of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; the denomination “Pieve” which will hit the market as early as 2024.

12 subzones and additional geographical units, represented by different Pievi (churches). The idea behind the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Pieve”, came from a scientific study which required the consent and collective participation of all the wine producers.

The Pieve originally was a church-owned building in charge of many duties, functioning not only as a church but also as a small hospital and as the village municipality. It is a name that will be a path between the past and future, intertwining the old culture and local winemaking with the international future and innovative production techniques. The grape blend will be tied to Sangiovese (also locally known as “Prugnolo Gentile”) and complementary native only Tuscan varieties allowed by the Consortium, with grapes exclusively produced by the producers and coming from vines that are at least fifteen years old. Another important factor is the implementation of an internal commission within the Consortium composed of oenologists and wine technicians. These experts will be delegated the task of assessing the characteristics that correspond to the specification before the required legislative steps.

Such interesting wines will represent the quality of this magnificent territory holding a precious history.

 

 

 

 

on my radar

                                      Winery:  Bindella – Tenuta Vallocaia
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018 
Ruby core with rims. Intense bouquet of cherry with balsamic overtones and slight scent of black pepper. Lovely entrance, round with ripe fruit, medium body. Firm, velvety tannins with a long finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery: Dei
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby core with narrow light garnet rim. Intense nose of ripe plum and notes of rhubarb and new leather. Powerful structure with ripe red fruit, fragrant with well integrated silky tannins. Elegant with a long finish. Lovely wine. 

 

Winery:  Poderi Boscarelli  
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Brillant, ruby red with compacted rim. Pronounced flavour of cassis and violet. Spicy with overtones of leather. Full bodied with quite bright acidity. Well balanced with rich red fruit and elegant tannins. Harmonious finish. Charming wine with ageing potential.  

Winery:  Poliziano
Wine:    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby colour turning slightly purple. The nose expresses flavours of red fruit and rhubarb with a hint of mint. The palate is balanced with notes of ripe cherry and prune. Dry and fragrant, with soft tannins and long persistence.                                               Full body with a nice end.  Great wine. 

Winery:  La Ciarliana
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Clean with a deep ruby core. Lovely aromas of ripe plum with a touch of vanilla. Blackcherry in the palate with a light toasty scent. Full body with round, sweet tannins. Fresh and harmonious finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery:  Salcheto
Wine:      Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Bright with paler reflections. Pronounced flavour of red cherry, wild blueberry and balsamic notes and anice. Rich and well structured, good balance of body, fruit, acidity and velvety tannins. Lovely wine. 

 

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 Riserva
[wines 15 reviewed]

The Riservas 2017 turned out to be rich and ripe with intense fruit. The wines showed good structure, sweet tannins, and a discrete alcohol presence. 

on my radar

Winery:  Tenuta Valdipiatta
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Deep ruby core, paler on the hedge. Complex nose with flavours of dark cherry, prune and chocolate. Juicy palate with good acidity, discrete alcohol level and soft tannins. Fragrant and long. I like this wine! 

Winery:  Tenuta della Talosa
Wine:     Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant deep red. Attractive bouquet of strawberry and violet mixed with spicy notes of black pepper. Full body with lots of red fruit in the center palate with smoky scents on the back. It expresses harmony with velvety tannins and long, fresh finish. Lovely wine. 

Winery:  Le Berne
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant, deep ruby core with violet hues. Intense flavour of black cherry and liquorice with overtones of lavender and new leather. Fragrant entrance with discrete alcohol and ripe fruit. Sweet, velvety tannins and quite long aftertaste. Harmonious, charming wine.

Winery:  La Braccesca
Wine:   Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva, Vigneto Santa Pia
Colour ranging from deep ruby core to lighter rim. It shows a lovely bouquet of ripe plum, violet and chocolate with a hint of tobacco. Full body with lively acidity well integrated with rich red fruit. Silky tannins with elegant finish. Great wine. 

 

THE 2020 HARVEST 

The year 2020 was defined by four key periods; germination from the 28th of March to the 19th of April; flowering from the 22nd to the 31 May; fruit ripening between the 21st of July and 21st August and the harvest which began on the 15th of September. Heavy rains interfered with harvesting operations, and in some areas of the appellation they continued without interruption. For this reason, the harvest was extended until the first week of October to avoid botrytis infections and a drop in yield quality. The wines of 2020, when tasted, demonstrated intense colors, a fine varietal aromatic expression and structure that is supported by medium acidity and tannins. On an analytical level, one can detect normal values of intensity and color tone, acidity, pH, extracts, and total polyphenols. The alcoholic grades are medium to high. Balance and elegance are keywords to describe the eccentricities of 2020 wines.

Montepulciano 

Near the city of Siena, Nobile di Montepulciano D.O.C.G., Rosso di Montepulciano D.O.C and Vin Santo di Montepulciano D.O.C, are exclusively made within the city limits of the town of Montepulciano, near the city of Siena. We are talking of a territory that has been a wine production zone for centuries, witness to not only the progress in cultivation techniques but also of the geopolitical impact on those “noble” hills. We have known these hills as a wine territory since the 17th century. It is a place that captured the attention of elite and noble families of Tuscany and was recognized as one of the finest red wine areas of the region. Vino Nobile has been one of Italy’s most esteemed wines for centuries, though it has been eclipsed in recent times by other Tuscan wines. The turning point was 1980 with the birth of the Consortium. In the last 15 years, the consortium has made enormous efforts to elevate the production in Montepulciano. Only in the recent decades Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has witnessed amazing growth in terms of winemaking techniques and quality. Today, the roughly 70 producers of Montepulciano believe that the Sangiovese produced in this district can top the levels of excellence of the other Tuscan icon wines.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
International Markets

Always a big “Thank You” to my colleague, and friend, Liz Palmer !

 

Filippo Magnani