Accolade Wines UK boss Paul Schaafsma - who next week becomes the supplier’s global CEO - says he will use lessons learned in the UK to develop the AUS$1bn (£0.5bn) business.
Schaafsma, currently UK general manager, takes the reins of the global business this week. Speaking to The Grocer, Schaafsma gave the success of Echo Falls Fruit Fusions, which has now launched in Walmart in the US after debuting in the UK last spring, as an example of how his UK experience could develop Accolade.
“You talk about growing the category - well, 50% of consumers who are purchasing Echo Falls Fruit Fusions are new to wine,” he said. “That sort of number doesn’t happen very often, and I think it’s because we’re actually telling people what the flavour is. Walmart saw it as a great opportunity because they believed it could bring more customers into wine.”
He said Accolade’s recent acquisition of Chilean business Viña Anakena was driven largely by the country’s growing prominence in the UK market. The leading Chilean wine brand in the UK, Casillero del Diablo, owned by Concha Y Toro, has grown 65% in two years to £89.7m [IRI 52 w/e 18 July 2015].
“Chilean wine is growing in its relevance. Our vision and mission statement is to be the leading provider of New World wine, and South America was really the one hole in our portfolio.”
With the UK, Europe and Australia the current largest markets for Accolade, Schaafsma said it saw the US and Asia as full of potential.