The UK’s biggest wine supplier spotted a gap in the market for Californian wines in the £6-£9 bracket and bought Geyser Peak from Ascentia Wine Estate last June. It has subsequently sold the Geyser Peak Winery to Francis Ford Coppola Winery but retained ownership of the brand.
Geyser Peak exports 20,000 cases a year to the likes of Germany, China and Japan, and has previously been on UK shelves.
For the relaunch, Accolade general manager Paul Schaafsma wanted to bring something “different, relevant and customer focused” to shelves.
Accolade sent its winemaker, Barry Dick, to the Golden State to work with Geyser Peak director of winemaking Ondine Chattan and create something unique for the UK.
Chattan said: “This new tier has never been made before and will only be exported to the UK. We found the UK consumer is looking for higher acidity, lower sugar and less oak.”
Geyser Peak is a geothermal area in California with steaming geysers and volcanic soil, and it was formerly a place where people would go to convalesce.
The brand is starting with a UK take on Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc – its biggest US seller with 137,000 cases annually – as well as a Chardonnay and a Merlot, which are expected to hit domestic retailers’ shelves in June or July.
They are already available in World Duty Free with an rrp of £8.99.
In January 2014 a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio will follow.
Schaafsma said: “You have got entry-level – Echo Falls, Blossom Hill, Gallo – and then premium. There is a hole in the market. We are not just duplicating something that exists. We expect listings with major retailers for it.”
He went on to stress his confidence in the UK wine market, adding: “We are absolutely committed to the UK market and one of the best-placed companies to cater to the UK market. We are growing and we are positive about 2013 and 2014.
“We want to become a one-stop shop. If you just have one country you have the problems with exchange rates. If you are not packing in the UK you can’t meet a certain price point. As other people fall by the wayside we are there to scoop up the opportunities and be a solid, dependable supplier.”