The United Sates has long been one of the most lucrative wine markets in the world, consuming more than 700 million gallons of wine each year from domestic and foreign producers, according to the Wine Institute, a San Francisco, Calif.-based trade association.
But while successful wine labels have traditionally featured images of quiet creeks, rolling hills and bucolic valleys, at least a couple of vintners are now producing wines with labels that feature everything from pickup trucks to teardrop trailers and Class A motorhomes.
“It’s something new and different,” said Jeffrey Dye, president of Concord, Calif.-based Exclusive Brands Inc., which markets value priced chardonnay, cabernet and merlot under the Happy Camper label, which features graphic renderings of motorhomes and teardrop trailers, depending on the vintage.
A self-proclaimed negociant (someone who makes wine using other people’s grapes), Dye contracts with a central California winery to produce the wine, which he sells through grocery and specialty wine stores across the country.
Last year, Dye’s first year targeting RV enthusiasts, he sold 15,000 cases, and he expects to sell about 25,000 more this year. “The response has been very good,” Dye told RV Business. “A wide variety of people enjoy the wines, not only the people who camp and go RVing.”
The Australians, meanwhile, are also targeting American camping enthusiasts with RVino, featuring labels with amusing titles such as Tailgate Shiraz. Grape Ensembles, a Blackwood, Australia-based company that markets RVino, sold about 12,000 bottles of RV-themed shiraz and chardonnay last year by using 20 Australian campgrounds and RV resorts as distribution points.
Now the company is expanding its marketing to U.S. parks through a marketing agreement with TGIC Importers Inc. of Woodland Hills, Calif., reports Michael Sexton, Grape Ensembles’ managing director. He said the company eventually plans to sell RVino through U.S. grocery stores and other retailers.