Italian Wine News


'Brand California' Aims to Overtake France by 2007
Stuart Peskett – November 9, 2004

Dry Creek LabelThe California wine industry will overtake France as the UK's number two wine region by 2007.

That is the goal of Brand California – a new project devised by the Wine Institute of California. The institute's UK director, John McLaren, said that the other main target is to achieve a 20% market share by value in three years' time. McLaren added that following a meeting of the institute and various wineries in March, two key issues were identified about Californian wine:

  1. it was not perceived to have a broad offer for the 5-7 ($9-13) price points; and
  2. it was perceived to be underperforming against the three key measures of quality, value and diversity.

In view of this, the institute commissioned research from Wine Intelligence, which revealed some worrying trends, including:

  • a mere 19% of those surveyed believed that California 'offers great diversity and choice';
  • only 22% thought the region 'has a reputation for high-quality wines'; and
  • when comparing four New World wine-tasting catalogues, California's percentage of 5-7 wines was the lowest, at 16% (South Africa's was 30%).

However, this has to be measured against the fact that California is in third position in the UK market by value and by volume, and that it has enjoyed year-on-year average growth of more than 25%, with 27% growth for 2003/4. McLaren added that 331 wines were whittled down to 16 'Benchmark' wines, which will feature at trade and consumer events, such as the BBC Good Food Show. The tasting panel was chaired by the Daily Mail's Matthew Jukes.

The 16 Benchmark wines (in no particular order)

  1. 2003 Dry Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc
  2. 2002 Beringer Vineyards Stone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
  3. 2003 Hahn Estates Monterey Chardonnay
  4. 2003 J Lohr Winery Painter Bridge Chardonnay
  5. 2002 Woodbridge Select Vineyard Series Ghost Oaks Chardonnay
  6. 2003 Bonterra Vineyards Viognier
  7. 2003 Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks Syrah Ros
  8. 2002 RH Phillips Toasted Head Merlot
  9. 2001 Blossom Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  10. 2001 Camelot Cabernet Sauvignon
  11. 2003 Delicato Vineyards Kingfish Shiraz
  12. 2002 Blackstone Winery Shiraz
  13. 2002 Concannon Vineyard Central Coast Syrah
  14. 2002 Ironstone Vineyards Petite Syrah
  15. 2002 Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel
  16. 2001 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfande

Originally published on the harpers-wine © 2004
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