Corby represents wines belonging to Pernod Ricard (PR) and The Wine Group (TWG) in Canada, and once the announced acquisition is completed, will own The Foreign Affair Winery, an Ontario-based VQA wine producer. We’re having tremendous success, by bringing wine innovations to the Canadian market, changing the way wine is marketed and taking advantage of opportunities to expand into new channels.
When the Ontario government relaxed restrictions on the sale of wine in local grocery stores, it opened up an entirely new retail channel for us. Through the collaborative efforts of our sales, trade and brand marketing teams, Corby was fast off the mark and developed great partnerships with two of the largest grocery retailers. At year end, three of our wines were among the top 10 selling imported wines in the Ontario grocery channel, with Jacob’s Creek Moscato ranked the number one white wine by volume and value and Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc ranked the number one New Zealand wine. This is just the start. With the government planning to more than quadruple the number of licences granted to grocery stores by 2025, we’re in a strong position to capitalize on the expanded opportunity.
Jacob’s Creek wines have risen from the number five brand by retail value in the Australian wine category in Canada to the number one position by both volume and value. Shipments reached 554,000 cases in fiscal 2017, surpassing the 500,000-case milestone for the first time and growing by 15% over the previous year.
The launch of Jacob’s Creek Moscato in Ontario in fiscal 2012 and nationally in fiscal 2013 kicked off the brand’s exceptional momentum, buoyed by a phenomenally successful Twitter campaign that connected it with our target consumer during weekly episodes of The Bachelorette TV show. We continued the innovation behind the Moscato line, subsequently introducing Jacob’s Creek Moscato Rosé, Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Moscato Rosé, a 1.5-litre format for large groups and parties, and at the end of fiscal 2017, Jacob’s Creek Moscato in 250mL cans. This new format is aimed at recruiting convenience-focused millennials into the category and competing against ciders and coolers. Think of it as the perfect choice for camping, music festivals or weekends at the cottage.
At the top end of the product line, Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz continued to shine. Launched in fiscal 2016, the product pushes the boundaries of wine innovation as a premium-quality Barossa Shiraz finished in aged whisky barrels.
Shipments of Stoneleigh wine reached 110,000 cases, up 13% from fiscal 2016, with Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc topping the list. While the big breakthrough was in the Ontario grocery channel, there were also marketing innovations. Among them, a Facebook Live Q&A with celebrity chef Mark McEwan was the first-ever such event for a wine in Canada. More than 50,000 people joined in to hear Chef McEwan share his best tips for spring entertaining, along with recipes perfect to enjoy with Stoneleigh wines.
Campo Viejo wines from Spain offer rich tradition with a modern twist and are being embraced by Canadians. Shipments rose by 14% in fiscal 2017, on the heels of 16% growth in fiscal 2016. Most of our focus is on consumer sampling: once people taste the wine, they love it and they’re highly likely to buy it. We’ve also been successful in establishing the brand in national, on-premise accounts.