The Californian variety became the bestselling wine in the US at the end of last year and has been rolled out gradually across the UK convenience and wholesale channel over the past three years on a "regional basis", according to George Marsden, vice president and general manager for E&J Gallo in Europe.
Last week two Barefoot SKUs a Pinot Grigio and a Merlot (rsp: £5.99) went into Tesco in the brand's first national roll-out with a multiple retailer. The total range contains five variants.
"We want Barefoot to be the number one brand in the UK and we think it's going to be the number one global brand within the next five years," said Marsden. "2010 is going to be the year of the foot."
Barefoot had been built on a different model from its other wines in the UK, said Mark Tinsley, regional sales director, UK and Ireland. "It's been built in impulse we followed the model that worked in the States, which is as a community brand. We started in Brighton, then Manchester and Bristol. It already has good consumer awareness and a built-in following. Now we're looking to partner with the major grocers."
Barefoot is a unique proposition in the UK market because it's a "fun, lifestyle brand" that has been built gradually through marketing tie-ups with charities and community activities, like picking up litter on beaches, explained Marsden.
The range does not give information on the vintage date on labelling because "vintage dating doesn't matter", according to Marsden.
Last year, Gallo's value sales sunk 24% with volumes down 28% [Nielsen 52w/e 26 December 2009] as a result of a delisting and range rationalisation programme. Gallo's marketing strategy for 2010 will not involve TV advertising, and will focus on adding value at point of purchase, rather than through price promotions, which have been damaging for the industry, claimed Marsden.