Following the recent appointment of Mauricio Palacios to the newly-created position of CEO, Argentine winery Viña Doña Paula has highlighted a stronger brand identity, as it looks to further distinguish itself from parent company Santa Rita Estates.
Speaking to Drinks Retailing at this year’s Prowein, Palacios, along with UK business manager Manny Doidge, flagged the division’s relatively new relationship with North South Wines and the importance of the UK market.
“The idea is more focus for Doña Paula, to maximise the brand’s identity in the most important markets,” said Palacios. “For us, the UK is very important.”
Doidge added: “We started with North South Wines last year and we decided to launch a new range in the UK, focusing on more of the multiple retailers. Now, we’re also focusing on the on-trade indirectly through regional wholesalers and directly to the off-trade and independents. The idea is to focus on different ranges for different channels in the UK. We haven’t really done that before.”
For the multiples, the range includes El Alto and Malbado, around the £14.99 to £15.99 mark, while the indies get the Altitude Series at around £22.99. The Altitude Series comprises three wines named after the altitude of the vineyards used to source the grapes.
The core estate range, meanwhile, centres on different varietals. Independent retailers can expect Riesling, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc while the 2022 vintage also features the company’s first 100% Casavecchia, which is an Italian variety.
“The issue we’ve got generally in the UK for Argentina is 80% is still Malbec,” explained Doidge. “Often we’re talking to the multiple retailers and they have no white wine from Argentina and we’re trying to get over that hurdle.”
Doidge said the company’s blends also present more of an opportunity to introduce different grape varieties to UK consumers, and the pair also flag Chardonnay as a grape that is becoming “more and more interesting to consumers”.
Doidge said North South’s sustainability credentials align with their own objectives “not just on the environment side, but on the economic and social elements, too”.
Elsewhere, both Palacios and Doidge warned of a “huge range of issues” coming out of Argentina, including the country’s current “100% inflation levels” and frosts making the harvest “40% smaller than it was last year”. Though Doidge also emphasised that eastern Mendoza was the worst hit, an area in which the company does not have any vineyards.