Los Vascos Lifts Up Chilean Wine

The Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite–owned brand has moved to a fruit-forward style.

Pasternak Wine ImportsLos Vascos brand is defying the downturn in Chilean wine. Now in its third consecutive year of growth, the wine—founded by Domaines Baron de Rothschild Lafite—grew 8.5 percent to 102,000 cases in 2015, according to Impact Databank. “Los Vascos transcends the Chilean category,” says Pasternak president and CEO Stephen Brauer. “We don’t lead with Chile—we emphasize that this is world-class Cabernet.” Over the last few years, Los Vascos has evolved toward a more fruit-forward New World style, which has contributed to the uptick. Late last year, the brand moved its white and rosé wines to screwcaps and debuted more contemporary packaging for the full range. The lineup is led by its Classic Tier (all $13.99 a 750-ml. bottle), which includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon expressions. The Grande Reserve tier features Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère wines (both around $19.99). “Grande Reserve depletions were up over 20 percent in 2015,” Brauer says. The higher-end Le Dix de Los Vascos ($64.99) targets aspiring fine wine consumers. Los Vascos skews toward the off-premise, but Brauer sees opportunity in restaurants, especially in by-the-glass sales for the Classic line. Top markets include the Northeast, Florida, Illinois and California. Brauer is optimistic for the rest of 2016 and hopes that the brand’s success can lift the Chilean category as a whole. “We’re not going to wait for Chile to turn around,” he says. “We’re hoping to lead.”