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Cupcake Wines Ranked No. 1 in Momentum

Symphony IRI names top 30 wine brands in retail sales performance

by Jim Gordon

San Rafael, Calif.—The Symphony IRI Group ranked California’s Cupcake Vineyards the No. 1 brand in its annual Top 30 Momentum Table Wine Brands analysis. Cupcake is a relatively new brand of The Wine Group, which markets several Cupcake varietals as “sweet treats” for less than $11 retail. This is Cupcake’s first appearance in the Top 30.

Other California wine brands took places two through 10 in the Top 30, with Ménage à Trois from Trinchero as No. 2 and Barefoot from E. & J. Gallo as No. 3. Symphony IRI (SIRI) picks the Top 30 Momentum Table Wine Brands from the leading wines sold off-premise at major food and drug stores, weighing 10 measures of sales performance in 2010 to calculate the rankings.

Symphony IRI

In all, 25 of the Top 30 brands came from California, while one was from Washington (Chateau Ste. Michelle) two from Italy, one from Germany and one from Argentina.  Alamos from Argentina is an import of E. & J. Gallo, and ranked highest of the imports at No. 11.

All of the Momentum brands experienced strong incremental sales growth, according to Susan Minarich, SIRI’s manager of client solutions for beer, wine and spirits, the analyst who assembled the rankings. Many also posted healthy distribution gains, but she observed that for many of the top 30 brands, pricing was generally lower compared to 2009.

The Top 30 Table Wine Momentum Brands accounted for 30% of table wine dollar sales and 33% of volume sales in the major food and drug stores nationwide that SIRI measures via checkstand scan data. The brands also represented 53% of net category dollar growth and 43% of net volume growth at the brand level.

Minarich observed that 14 of the 30 Momentum brands came from the under-$8 and inexpensive box price segments, while the remaining 16 came from the $8-plus price tiers. Within any single price segment, the largest number of Momentum brands (nine) came from the $8-$10.99 price tier.

Suppliers of Top 30

Of the Top 30 Momentum brands, the top two suppliers own seven each: E. & J. Gallo (70 million cases) and Constellation Wines U.S. (10.2 million cases). The 58-million-case Wine Group owns four.

Constellation made the biggest leap from last year’s Top 30, adding five brands to its 2009 total. In 2009 Gallo had five brands in the top 30.

Symphony IRI

Top 10 new brands
In a companion ranking of 2010 Top 10 New Table Wine Brands, a low-priced Argentine wine, Aconga, ranked No. 1 with $1.9 million sales in 37 weeks since it was introduced. Second was a German brand, Sonnenband, which sold $1.7 million in just 14 weeks of 2010. Paluzzi, a Moscato imported from Italy, made No. 4 with a mere nine weeks in the U.S. market.

“In the new wines category, the story in 2010 was the import invasion, with eight of 10 brands coming from abroad,” said Doug Goodwin, SIRI’s vice president of client insights for beer, wine and spirits. “Compare that to 2009, when the new brands list was dominated by California wines with seven brands. We should also point out that in 2009, seven of the top 10 brands were priced above $8. This year, eight brands were priced below $8.

“Domestic suppliers would be well advised to keep a close eye on the performance of low priced imports moving into 2011,” Goodwin told Wines & Vines.

The criteria
To qualify for the 2010 Top 30 Momentum Table Wine Brands, labels needed a minimum of 100,000 9L cases sold in SIRI’s category of Total U.S. Food and Drug Stores for 52 weeks ending Jan. 2. This meant 105 brands were considered for inclusion. The following measures were selected for the criteria of the brand ranking:

1. Volume sales
2. Volume sales—actual change from a year ago
3. Volume sales—percentage change from a year ago
4. Volume share of price segment change from a year ago
5. Incremental volume sales
6. Incremental volume sales—percentage change from a year ago
7. Dollar sales—actual change from a year ago
8. Dollar sales—percentage change from a year ago
9. Incremental dollar sales—percentage change from a year ago
10. Average price per 750ml volume sales

SIRI ranked brands for each measure (high to low) and awarded points based on 2010 sales performance. Points received across each measure were added for a sum total by brand, resulting in the final point total. Brands were ranked in descending order of total points to determine the final 2010 Top 30 Momentum Table Wine Brands.


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