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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barefoot Wines -- a success story

Barefoot Wines has continued to grow even in a somewhat sluggish U.S. market. They hit 17 million cases of wine sold last year. Did you know they were owned by Gallo, the largest wine company in the world? Therein lies the reason for their success.

History of Barefoot Wines

In the 1960s a local Sonoma County vintner, Davis Bynum, started a label of inexpensive wines with names like Barefoot Bynum Burgundy and Chateau LaFeet. In the 1980s he sold to a couple local business people who created the Barefoot label you see today. One of the owners stepped in a large ink pad, put her foot down on a piece of paper, and created the label's signature. In 2005 they sold Barefoot Wines to Gallo.

Under Gallo

Gallo gets credit for expanding the line into other "fun" wines like Muscato and a carbonated wine made to be served over ice. Where most of the success comes from is in distribution. Gallo is, we could say, aggressive in their wholesaling tactics. You see their wines everywhere--and not just in the U.S. Gallo owns over 50 wine labels. Some smaller stores and restaurants might carry what looks like several different wines, but they're all Gallo labels.

Barefoot Wines are inexpensive, offer variety, aren't to be taken seriously, and available everywhere.

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News Update: This week Gallo purchased Sonoma's J Vineyards along with 300 acres of wine grapes. J is known primarily for premium sparkling wines, but also Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Never heard of J? You'll probably start seeing in on store shelves in the coming months.