Accolade Wines to launch Geyser Peak Californian wines to the UK
Accolade Wines is bringing the Geyser Peak range of commercial and premium Californian wines to the UK this summer, starting with varietals specially blended for the UK consumer.
The move signals Geyser Peak’s return to the UK after a number of years and gives Accolade a premium quality Californian wine brand it can distribute across the off-trade at all the key price points.
The move was announced on the opening day of Prowein which runs in Dusseldorf between March 24 and March 26, and follows Accolade’s purchase of Geyser Peak in June last year.
Paul Schaafsma, Accolade’s UK and European head, said Prowein was an ideal opportunity to introduce the Geyser Peak range to all the key European and international buyers as well as hold further talks with interested UK parties.
He is hopeful at least two of the major supermarkets will be in a position to take on the inital varietal range including a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot which are expected in the UK market from July. The wines will carry a price point of 8.99, promoted down to 6.99.
These will be followed by a tier of appellation wines from Geyser Peak’s vineyard in Sonoma County, California early in 2014, and a reserve range in the first quarter of 2014.
Ondine Chattan, director of winemaking at Geyser Peak, said this was the first time it had specifically changed the style of its varietal wine range to suit a particular export market. “We understand the UK consumer is looking for a little more acidity, and a little more tannin and intensity in their wines than the US wine drinker,” she explained.
She has been working with the Accolade winemaking team on creating UK-style blends since last November. These will also be available to European buyers.
She was also working hard on lowering the average alcohol levels to nearer 13.5% than the normal 14.5% for the US market.
“This is a very important step for us,” added Chattan. “It has saved us.” She said she was delighted to be working with a big company again “willing to invest” in what they were doing after previously having been owned by Jim Beam before some less successful acquisitions in recent years.
“Accolade has come in with a true belief in the brand and the support we need. It is incredibly exciting.”
Schaafsma said the Geyser Peak range would offer something different to not only its existing Californian branded wine range, including Echo Falls, but the Californian category in general. “We are bringing a brand with 130 years of heritage to the UK.”