Georges Duboeuf Embraces Beaujolais Beyond Nouveau

The storied wine brand reinvents itself, with promising early results.

On January 1st, Quintessential Wines took over import rights for Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Quintessential co-owner Dennis Kreps estimates the brand will deplete about 185,000 cases this year, up slightly from 2015. “I don’t know if it’ll ever get back to its peak, but our goal is to build the brand back into the category leader,” Kreps says. Georges Duboeuf peaked at almost 1.2 million cases in 2001, according to Impact Databank. The portfolio is broken into four categories: the Domaine and Cru Beaujolais wines; the Flower range, which focuses on Beaujolais Villages labels; La Cuvée; and Beaujolais Nouveau. “We’re focusing on the Domaines and Crus,” Kreps says, noting that the segment has returned to growth thanks to a strong on-premise push and sommelier interest. “The market is really open to domaine-bottled Beaujolais.” The Domaine and Cru line includes about 30 SKUs (around $19 to $38 a 750-ml. bottle), led by Domaines Jean-Ernest Descombes Morgon and Château des Capitans. The 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau wines launch on November 17th and are up around 10 percent in pre-sales, which Kreps attributes to a successful label contest that allowed consumers to vote on this year’s label using social media. The company offers several Nouveau labels, including the traditional Beaujolais Nouveau ($11.99), Beaujolais Nouveau Villages ($12.99) and Nouveau offerings from a few domaines. Quintessential’s marketing emphasizes tastings and consumer outreach. “We’re focusing on efforts that reintroduce Beaujolais’ flavor profile and style,” Kreps says. In the next six months, Quintessential will relaunch Georges Duboeuf Vin de Pays with new packaging.