No one knows exactly how many wine brands there are in the world today. Market dynamics in wine-world are wild and wooly. The space is crowded, complicated and consolidating.
I actually tried to research the answer to this brand volume question. (Scroll down to catch a glimpse of some fascinating trends.)
My motive was to contrast the noise of a crowded marketplace with a very special limited edition experience recently presented by Cincinnati’s Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine and hosted by Miller Gallery. This tasting was like a treasure hunt where the “X” was already drawn on the map! Shaw-Ross International Importers represents a small collection of prestigious family vineyard brands. Its Lineage Collection emphasizes “the ‘savior faire’ of the winemakers who create them.” It was deeply gratifying to meet the current generation of family winemakers, and in coming weeks I will share their remarkable stories (and wine tasting notes) with you.
In the meantime, here’s a short introduction to the winemakers and wines. You can purchase (or order) these wines from Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine.
Château de Bligny, Jean-Remy Rapeneau
Third generation grower/winemaker/owner
- Brut Champagne
- Blanc de Blanc Champagne
- Rosé Champagne
Château Les Trois Croix and Château d’Esclans, Patrick Leon
Consulting oenologist and winemaker for Sacha Lichine’s brands
- Château Les Trois Croix (2012)
- Château d’Esclans (2016): Rock Rosé, Les Clans Rosé, and Garrus Rosé
Masút Vineyard & Winery, Jake Fetzer
Third generation winemaker/owner
- Pinot Noir
Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Ophélie Loubersac
Oenologist and communications manager
- Mouton Cadet Reserve (2015)
Marqués de Riscal, Jose Luis Muguiro, Jr.
5th generation family owner and brand ambassador
- Rioja Gran Reserva (2005)
- Bar de Chirel Reserva (2010)
Now back to the context of market dynamics. The number of brands changes faster than the International Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV) can track them. OIV’s 2017 statistical report on world “vitiviniculture” (based on 2015-16 data) sheds interesting light on the dynamic situation.
In the past decade, the volume of wine production has increased 24%, and the value by 61%. The top five wine-producing countries in rank order are Italy, France, Spain, United States, and Australia. In the race for vino market share, China is in hot pursuit, eclipsing a steady pack of countries better known for producing wine: South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and Germany.
According to The Drinks Business (2017), China now has two of the top ten brands in the world (#10 Great Wall Wine Company and #4 Changyu Pioneer Wine, which is venturing into e-commerce). The brand structure looks a bit different in China than in most of the rest of the world. There is a single brand name, but as many as 50 different styles of wine ranging from sweet to dry, sparkling to still, and more. At #2 in the world, the Chilean conglomerate Concha y Toro is primarily a single big brand, albeit with multiple sub-brands to differentiate quality and style. Rounding out the top ten is a small but mighty group of big global companies that own multiple brands:
- Constellation > 100 (#7 Robert Mondavi)
- E & J Gallo > 70 (including #3 Gallo and #1 Barefoot)
- Treasury Wine Estates > 70 (#9 Beringer)
- Trinchero Family >40 (including #6 Sutter Home)
- Accolade Wine >20 (#9 Hardy’s), and
- Casella Family Brands, a relatively small portfolio that includes #5 Yellow Tail.
I love the tradition of independent, family-owned wineries, and I loved experiencing these wines. My case selection is on its way!