Beringer boss John Grant will piggyback off the success of Australian wines in the booming China market to lift exports for his Californian stable of wines in an attempt to match the double-digit export growth of his Australian stablemate brands.
Beringer, one of the largest and oldest wine brands in California's Napa Valley, is owned by Australian winemaker Treasury Wine Estates. Beringer controls a string of prestige brands but lags well behind its Australian colleagues in export sales.
In an interview with industry publication Shanken News Daily, Mr Grant said Treasury Wine Estates' Australian brand business exported about two-thirds of what it produced, whereas Beringer exported less than 10 per cent.
"So I think there's a clear opportunity to develop an export business with Beringer," he said.
Mr Grant is responsible for key Napa Valley wines including Beringer. "We believe the luxury end of the portfolio is positioned to get some traction in certain markets around the world," he told Shanken News Daily.
"Not just the Beringer brand - although that would be the basis of it - but also our other estate brands like Chateau St Jean, Stags' Leap, Etude and Souverain."
A 20-year wine industry veteran, before his appointment last August, Mr Grant was the vice-president, global brand director, for Beringer, and responsible for brand development and marketing.
Mr Grant said his business unit would leverage from the success of Treasury Wine Estates' Australian wine sales into Asia, particularly China, where labels such as Penfolds had forged a robust business.
"We're leveraging our strength in a market like China. Very few wine companies have a strong route to market there, and we have an infrastructure already. It's built around the pioneering efforts by Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindeman's with our importer."
He said China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were the key target for his US wine export strategy.
"The [China] mainland's huge emerging middle class is looking to take cues from the West in terms of consumer behaviour - part of that is wine consumption.
"There are 200 cities in mainland China with populations in excess of 2 million. We've only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of connecting there."
The best Grange? —Page 36