The UK will be the guinea pig for Brancott Estate’s new varietal Sauvignon Gris, and for two new extensions to the Jacob’s Creek range – a Fiano and a Sangiovese.
The drinks giant said British consumers are sophisticated, savvy and open to trying new things.
Jamie Marfell, winemaker at New Zealand brand Brancott Estate, said: “The UK is an established market and it expects innovation. We have always moved quickly and pioneered different things in the UK.”
Ary Ganeshalingam, marketing manager at Australian brand Jacob’s Creek, added: “The UK is the first market globally to get these wines. We are confident in how strong our brands are in this market.
“We understand our different markets better than ever now and we know the UK is looking for innovation.”
Ganeshalingam pointed to the popularity of Italian wine in the UK and said it presented an intriguing opportunity to experiment with some varietals inspired by the Mediterranean nation.
The new varietals will be released in March with an rrp of £8.05, and Ganeshalingam said the strong brand name of Jacob’s Creek would convince shoppers to pay a premium price for the wines.
Jacob’s Creek has been given a makeover by Pernod Ricard, putting the focus on the eponymous creek that lends the brand its name.
The new label features the strapline: “Named after Jacob’s Creek, site of Johann Gramp’s first vineyard.”
Founder Gramp planted the vineyard in 1847 on the banks of the creek named after William Jacob, the early settler whose cottage still stands on the estate.
The brand’s new icon features the creek running between two vine leaves.
“A lot of brands would die for a spiritual home,” said Ganeshalingam. “Consumers have an emotional need for a story behind brands.
“Consumers are much more savvy when it comes to brands now. We had a great story – Jacob’s Creek is a real place that actually exists. People just think it’s a made-up name for marketing.
“We needed to make it the central message and the label is the first point of contact.
“It’s interesting because this is the first change in our brand identity since the brand started 38 years ago.
“The key think is how we best allow retailers to benefit from this change. It makes the range more cohesive and helps the consumers navigate their way through things like Cool Harvest [the low-alcohol range] and the Reserve tier.
“It is all about driving value and volume for retailers.”
Ganeshalingam said that the story behind Jacob’s Creek will be the centre of all future marketing, and that once the Wimbledon tennis tournament – which Jacob’s Creek sponsors – is over, a new ad campaign will focus on this story.
Jacob’s Creek winemaker Nick Bruer added: “We have always had a strong innovative focus but in the last couple of years we have had to stay relevant, develop new products and work smarter.
“We have had a programme of exploring alternative or emerging varietals. Some never get to see the light of day – they get blended away in tiny quantities, 0.05% of a blend.
“But we have been able to produce small volumes of some, small bottling runs of 100 cases, which we have sold to visitors to the vineyards. We have learned a lot of things. Fiano comes from southern Italy and is very suited to an Australian climate.
“There are some similarities and differences. The Fiano still has reasonably voluptuous tropicals with a grassy, limey edge. There’s more generosity and plumpness of fruit and a slightly reduced focus on some of the savoury notes.
“The Sangiovese has medium depth, medium weight, with spicy cherry flavours and rich dark fruit. It’s not quite as savoury as a Chianti or old world equivalents. It has more roundness and a sweet liqueur fruit profile.”