Which made shopping for low sugar wine a lot more fun | So Good News


Christine Moll, chief marketing officer of the 10th largest US company, has more than two decades of experience understanding beverage consumers.

At Marin County-based O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, Moll oversees sales and product development for more than a dozen international brands. International labels include Line 39, Robert Hall Winery, Harken, Day Owl Rosé, Game Box, Rabble Wines, BrandyLab, and Charles Woodson’s Intercept Wines. Exclusive customer brands include Firebrand for retailers Total Wines & More.

This year, the company was certified as a B Corporation and has obtained permanent licenses for all the growers O’Neill buys in California, totaling 15,000 acres of vineyards.

Moll was born in Guatemala and moved to the US for college, graduating from Florida International University with an MBA in 2001. That year, he became senior brand manager for Bacardi USA, focusing on Bombay Sapphire gin, D’usse cognac and Corzo. tequila. . In 2012, he moved to Campari America, and in 2015 he became the manager of the tequila, rum and gin group.

In 2018, he joined O’Neill as vice president of marketing and moved into the C-suite earlier last year.

The Business Journal caught up with Moll about the company’s latest acquisition, the low-sugar brand FitVine. The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

How big is FitVine?

In 2020 and 2021, FitVine experienced significant growth, especially in sales, due to efforts to engage consumers during the purchase process. In 2022, the brand continues to lead the health sector and is estimated to sell (from commercial sources) about 300,000 9-liter cases, representing $125 million in sales. That’s according to NielsenIQ US sales data for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 10.

Where is this brand sold? How will it change, if not?

FitVine is currently sold in many retail chains across the country. There are many opportunities to continue to expand the brand’s brand image, and we also see a great opportunity to start growing the brand on the original channel.

What size is planned for this model?

A brand that bills itself as “for everyone and anytime,” FitVine has the potential to grow.

FitVine is already the leader in the “good for you” category, a niche in the sterile wine category. The division is up 58% and represents $125 million-plus in sales.

But FitVine isn’t just competing within the BFY segment. Reaching the highest price point ($15–$30 per bottle) in general, FitVine has several (stock-keeping units, SKUs) performing in the top 20 of their range, which shows that this brand is compatible with different brands. consumers, according to Nielsen data. We also see great potential in driving growth through innovative innovation.

(FitVine) founders Mark (Warren) and Tom (Beaton) have done wonders in creating a new and successful field within the mountain wine community. And our goal will be to continue to drive home winemakers, creating and serving delicious wines that don’t interfere with the wine drinker’s lifestyle.

In our view, there are many opportunities for brands to successfully deliver consumer experiences that meet the changing needs of wine drinkers everywhere. Whether it’s transparency, stillness, or anything in between, going beyond terroir and varietals only helps to make wines more compatible with changing consumer needs.

What else has been added to O’Neill’s portfolio of “brands that appeal to today’s wine drinker”?

O’Neill has several varieties that appeal to the modern wine drinker. First, there’s Line 39, which supports people’s food insecurity through our annual Plate it Forward campaign. We also have Harken, a Californian chardonnay that is 100% barrel-fermented and is certified sustainable, with clear labels.

Rabble Wines supports the philanthropic 1% For The Planet throughout the year and supports One Tree Planted during April’s Earth month.

Today’s consumers shop for brands that care about them, their communities and the planet – in addition to providing original products.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, architecture and real estate. Before joining the Business Journal in 1999, he wrote for the Bay City News Service in San Francisco. Reach him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.


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