Taliking Shop with… Herb Smith, E. & J. Gallo Winery

Herb Smith, vice president, customer development off-premise for E. & J. Gallo Winery, says there is an opportunity to expand wine drinking occasions.

Tell us what is happening in the wine category today. What is driving sales?

Herb Smith: The wine category continues to grow very rapidly. It has doubled in size the past 10 years and we are confident it will double again in the next 10. We are very fortunate that most of our retail customers have made wine a strategic category. They see how the category can enhance the shopping experience as well as build the overall basket size for them. All this is being done while the category is at an overall household penetration rate of about 32%.

Consumers seem to be demanding a wider range of products from the wine category. Is this true?

Consumers are looking for different and unique tastes and flavors, and the wine category is no different. We are seeing a real resurgence around “sweet” wine types like Moscato and Pinot Grigio, along with Sweet Red and other red blends growing in popularity. There continues to be a real opportunity to provide consumers that are not yet regular wine consumers with an offering that will appeal to them.

That is where Barefoot Refresh comes in. Barefoot Refresh is 100% wine with a slight effervescence, which gives the wine a truly refreshing quality.  Barefoot Refresh is available in four types: Crisp White, Sweet White, Summer Red and Perfectly Pink. The packaging is attractive and contemporary with an easy-to-open twist off cap that maintains freshness and effervescence. All Barefoot Refresh wines, even the red, are best served chilled and are even better over ice. We like to call it “wine on the rocks,” a new way to think about wine, which further expands wine consumption opportunities. This approachability and casualization of wine opens consumption occasions where wine was traditionally not in the consideration set for consumers—occasions such as BBQs, outdoor events, sporting events, poolside, lakeside and tailgating.

What do retailers need to do to generate maximum profit?

Our best in class retailers promote the wine category by offering a varied assortment, but more importantly by promoting it in various areas around the store, especially around perishable areas. There are obvious tie-ins for wine around the bakery, deli, seafood, meat and fresh bread areas. Another key spot is around the quick meal solution areas like rotisserie chicken and pizza. One area that has proven to be very successful is the produce department, especially the onion area, due to the fact that wine is a natural complement to any recipe.

How do you plan to support this line in-store and through other promotional activity?

We are supporting Barefoot Refresh with a full program of elements including a very aggressive demo and tasting program where permissible. In order to ensure that consumers truly understand how unique these new wines are, tasting of the product is one of the most successful ways to initiate interest. It can be easy to mistake Barefoot Refresh for just another red or white wine on the market. We take pride in ensuring that consumers know why and how Barefoot Refresh wines are so much more than that.

Barefoot Refresh has also partnered with Minor League Baseball teams nationwide to share the news and message about our unique wine. Additionally, we are excited to be working with the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and will partner with the AVP to have a presence at major tournaments. Sporting events present a natural fit for refreshing beverages and we see Barefoot Refresh as the perfect fit for these audiences. The wines taste great and are truly refreshing.

Lastly, through our wholesaler network, we will continue to build attractive and eye-catching displays in the proper high-traffic areas to convey product message and to drive incremental sales of Barefoot Refresh even outside of the wine aisle.

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