E&J Gallo's premium focus leads to "successful 2018"

E&J Gallo Winery has reported “a successful 2018”, with strong sales driven by wine brands within its premium portfolio.

The company said Carnivor and Dark Horse have proven to be particular favourites amongst UK consumers, with each brand recording significant growth in the past 12 months.

Mark Stammers, E&J Gallo’s channel director, said: “We have been seeing a trend towards premium wines for some time now, with 20% of still wine sales coming from £7+. Sales show that slightly higher price points do not discourage customers because the increase in quality is seen as being worth the price. Over the festive period, we expect to see premium wine sales increase further, as consumers look to treat themselves and their guests.”

Carnivor now boasts the number three position for a premium red Zinfandel and number six within premium Cabernet Sauvignons from the US, according to Nielsen data to 11.08.18. In this case premium is counted as wines priced higher than £7 for a 75cl bottle.

The brand has seen volume growth of 162% and value growth of 172% over the past 12 months. This has been driven by an exclusive promotional partnership with Sainsbury’s for Nectar cardholders, as well as the brand having a strong repeat purchase rate of 68% versus the usual average of 39% for a premium tier wine. The brand has also recently secured listings for Carnivor Zinfandel in Tesco, priced at £10 per bottle.

Gallo said Carnivor was created to appeal to those who love big. bold wines but also those who love a smooth finish. It said: “You shouldn’t have to chose between the two. You deserve to have it all in one bottle, so we set out to create a wine with big, bold flavours and a silky smooth finish.”

Gallo also pointed to Dark Horse, which it said is “an increasingly important player in premium wine”.

The brand is now the UK’s number eight premium wine brand, according to Nielsen, and it has seen strong growth over the last 12 months of 82% in volume and 81% in value, driven by the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay varietals, as well as the new Dark Horse Rose, launched in April. The latter has now secured listings in Tesco and Morrisons, priced at £8.50 per bottle.

Gallo also highlighted media partnerships with BBC Good Food, Olive, Delicious and Foodism, and “engaging experiential activity” at high-profile events including the Affordable Art Fair, Pub in the Park and The Telegraph Legend Series.

The company said more than a quarter of the brand’s growth comes from higher frequency of purchase, which is “a reflection of customer satisfaction”.

It added: “86% of Dark Horse’s growth brings additional spend to retailers through recruitment to the £7+ still wine market and spend expansion within the premium sector”.

For Dark Horse, Gallo said: “At Dark Horse Wines, our passion is crafting bold wines that deliver the unexpected. We marshal the best agricultural and winemaking practices from around the world to guarantee the highest quality.”