In my desire to learn as much as I can about the wine industry, I came across this list of the Top Ten Wine Companies in the U.S. and some of their leading wine brands.
Source: Marin Institute
One thing that occurs to me as I look over this list is how different wine is from beer and spirits, in that, many major wine brands don’t feel big. Take the brands in Altria’s portfolio—Conn Creek, Villa Mt. Eden, Distant Bay and Chateau St. Michelle—maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t. To me, this remote brand recall indicates a need for an industry-wide investment in marketing communications. From the major producers on down.
Personally, I prefer to consume wine from a wide variety of small, mostly local, producers. But my tastes don’t matter. One of the truths of the modern marketplace is lots of people prefer to consistently shop for what they know. Discovery isn’t this group’s motive in the wine aisle. Price and brand awareness help steer this shopper to a purchase.
One note of encouragement for the small to mid-sized producer is the fact that the race for consumer mindshare in wine is wide open. There are a handful of household names—Robert Mondavi, Beringer, Clos Du Bois and Gallo—everyone else can use a smart mix of content, word of mouth, experiential and old school advertising to help create brand preference in a category that can be confusing and overwhelming for many shoppers.[DISCLOSURE: Bonehook is currently working with MAS Wine Company on business development initiatives.]
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