Mezzacorona Revamps Its Pinot Grigio

The million-case Italian Pinot Grigio producer goes upscale in the 750-ml. segment.

Italian wine brand Mezzacorona sold more than 1 million cases in the U.S. market last year on 3-percent growth, and marketer Prestige Wine Imports says the brand is on track for faster growth in 2016. Mezzacorona’s Pinot Grigio label drives roughly 77 percent of sales, and about one third of its business is in 1.5-liter bottles (around $14 to $16), a segment that’s showing double-digit growth. “The 1.5-liter category is extremely competitive and price sensitive,” says Rusty Pape, Prestige’s senior vice president for the Americas and the Caribbean. “But there’s room for growth in the 750-ml. business, in both margin and pricing.” This year, starting with the 2015 vintage, 750-ml. bottles of the Pinot Grigio ($9.99 each) are transitioning from the Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT appellation to the higher-tier Trentino DOC appellation—a move that Pape says will help Mezzacorona compete with super-premium brands in the 750-ml. segment. The upgrade is being heavily marketed in the brand’s print advertising. “We’re the world’s leading producer of estate-bottled Pinot Grigio,” Pape says. “We have nearly 7,000 acres in production.” Elsewhere, Mezzacorona is seeing success with its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon offerings, and its rosé is growing at double-digit rates. Mezzacorona’s top three markets are Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois, followed by California, New York and Texas, and the brand skews 70-percent toward the off-premise. “Even at a million-plus cases, we’ve been able to hold onto a lot of our on-premise business,” Pape says.