Private label winemakers aim to deliver on 5 factors

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Gesondheid! Zidela Wines of South Africa was among the wine makers exhibiting at PLMA's annual trade show in Chicago.

At the recent Private Label Manufacturers Association Private Label Trade Show in Chicago, exhibitors were eager to talk about the market that exists for retailers with their own private label wines.

2019 saw several retailers introduce their own brand of wines, including Target, Amazon and Lidl, and other retailers, including Costco and Trader Joe's who have been playing in the space successfully for years. 

Gathered by the PLMA, winemakers from California, Italy, Kosovo and South Africa highlighted five areas of focus that they said would help retailers capitalize on the opportunity that exists if companies carry high-quality wine among their own brand products. 

1. Pricing: Making sure price points are attractive plays a key role, according to George Kuhn of Healdsburg, Calif.-based Owl Ridge Wine Services. As consumers look for value, manufacturers are looking to work with manufacturers on finding the right price, which Kuhn said is between $12 and $20. 

2. Innovation: Keeping things fresh helps private label producers and the retailers that employ them to differentiate themselves. Kosovo-based companies Kosova Wine and Stone Cellars are showcasing grapes from eastern Europe, including the red vrnac and white smederevka, which are used in Stone Cellar’s private label Food Wine line. Not to be outdone, Italian winemakers, among them Gruppo | Vinai, are looking to deliver on consumer interest in sweeter red wine, with the company introducing a private Lambrusco. 

Napa, Calif.-based Rack & Riddle Custom Wine Services have developed a sparkling white wine to provide bubbly at a value.

3. Quality: As shoppers increasingly focus on the provenance of ingredients, retailers are too, and manufacturers are keeping pace on quality by going organic. Among the exhibitors at the PLMA show was Cantine Europa, which sources its organic reds and whites from Sicily. 

4. Packaging: Eye-catching labels are as important as a name that sounds like quality at a good price, exhibitors said. Among the packaging innovators are South Africa’s Zidela Wines, which makes Mooiberg reds and Mbali white wine. 

5. Service: Manufacturers are eager to work with retailers to create a product that will be successful. Gabe Markovitz of Napa, Calif.-based Rack and Riddle Custom Wine Services said that this company has worked to create a Champagne-style sparkling white wine that rings up at roughly a quarter of the price of a typical Champagne.