Wine News

Valentin Bianchi Passes 75 Million Bottle Mark for New Age White

New Age White, the original "cocktail wine" that has become famous served over ice, with a squeeze of lime, as the "Tincho," has produced more than 75 million bottles since the wine's inception in 2000.

 New Age is sold worldwide, throughout Europe, the Far East, Latin and South America Indonesia, Canada, Russia, Japan, Israel and the Phillipines, and many other countries. It debuted in the US in 2006 and exclusive importer Quintessential estimates that they will have sold close to 7 million of those bottles by the end of 2013 (estimating approximately 2 million sold in the calendar year 2013).

Serving quality wine over ice was virtually unheard of when New Age first came to the U.S. The concept was born from the way that one of the winery's owners, Valentin Bianchi (grandson of the founder), enjoyed drinking this effervescent blend of Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc. His childhood nickname was "Tincho" (meaning "young Valentin").

Stephen and Dennis Kreps, the father and son co-owners of Quintessential, brought his recipe to the U.S. and named it in his honor so that consumers could enjoy this "frizzante" chilled wine over ice with a squeeze of lime, especially during the hot summer months.

A grassroots campaign of tastings, supplemented with point-of-sale materials that reinforced the wine's incredible mixability, coincidently dovetailed with the rise of cocktail culture among Gen-Xers and Millennials . . . and captured their taste buds and sense of experimentation, when it comes to their libations. Quintessential employed professional mixologists to create a number of signature cocktails for New Age, that have been available on Quintessential's website for the past eight years and have been supplemented with recipes from bartenders and consumers who have become part of the "cult of New Age."

New Age White has been among the top white wine exports from Argentina, always one of the "top three" in terms of yearly sales, since 2010, according to Nielsen data. In 2012, yearly U.S. depletions were up to 141,000 cases, with more than 150,000 cases looking likely for 2013.

As the "cocktail wine" market started to catch up to New Age, Quintessential and the winery have increased their efforts, according to Dennis Kreps, spending around $1 million between POS (case cards, shelf-talkers, neckers, "cocktail" menu cards, etc.), tastings and social media, including a New Age Facebook page and Twitter handle ( @NewAgeWine).

Line extensions New Age Rose (Malbec and Merlot), and last year's introduction of New Age Red (Malbec and Bonarda) are finding their "niches" in the realm of "cocktail wines," with depletions of New Age Red expected to top out around 15,000 cases in its first full year of sales.

"Back in 2008 or 2009, people thought we were crazy when we'd be at trade or consumer tastings and we'd fill a glass with ice, squeeze in a wedge of lime, and then pour this 'fizzy' white wine over it," explains Stephen Kreps, Jr., who runs the company's California distribution arm. "But, once they tasted the 'Tincho,' they were converts. These days, more than half of those attending tastings around the country don't bat an eye at our adding ice or lime, or mixing in fruit juices and other liqueurs . . . and many of them know that New Age is 'in the house' when they see the ice and limes at our tasting table."

Rebekah Weeman, Director of Winery and Vendor Relations for the national charity organization Wine, Woman and Shoes, says "Without question, New Age White, served with ice and lime, is almost always the most popular wine at our events. And, when our attendees—mostly women in their 20s to early 30s, and beyond—learn that it's around $12 a bottle, that fact only adds to its popularity."

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