The 2024 Wine Growth Brands Awards — What’s Driving sales

Coming off three straight years of rapid growth during and after the pandemic, sales in the beverage alcohol industry cooled significantly in 2023. With a few notable exceptions, most spirit and wine categories were down in sales compared to 2022.

In total, 58 spirits, 26 wines and 16 RTDs qualified as Growth Brands this year, based on 2023 calendar year sales. We spoke to brands about what makes their product successful, from their promotions and activation programs to support from trade partners in the middle tier, on-premise and off-premise.

Consumer thirst for wine has measurably subsided, with total wine volume consumption posting its second consecutive year of loss. Overall wine decreased 3.4% in 2023 to 336.6 million 9-liter cases, according to preliminary figures from the Beverage Information Group.

That’s not to say there are no bright spots and growth areas in the wine industry. Lower-alcohol wines, sustainably and conveniently packaged brands and proseccos are a few of the trends now driving industry growth. Here’s how some of the rising and established wine stars have managed to increase sales this past year.

White On

The popularity of aromatic white wines continues, says Dan Vu, vice president of marketing for Foley Family Wines. “Category wide, sauvignon blanc is up 7.2% and pinot grigio is up 2.9%,” he says. “Consumers really love the versatility of being able to pair them with a variety of foods or enjoy on their own.”

Foley Family’s Ferrari-Carano, an Established Growth Brand winner this year, is helping to drive that trend, “with a top-5 sauvignon blanc and a top-10 pinot grigio within its competitive set,” Vu says. Ferrari-Carano aims to continue to lead in aromatic white wines with the launch of a pinot grigio from Friuli Grave. “This pinot grigio, with floral and fruity aromatics, along with a touch of acidity, is an homage to the Carano family’s Italian roots,” he notes.

Another Foley Family brand, Chalk Hill, consistently ranks among the top 10 chardonnays with both its Sonoma Coast and Estate bottlings, Vu says. The wines are “driven by the quality of the wines and supported by our Garden Party campaigns, which celebrate local flavors and reinforce the winery’s deep connection to its place.”


Delicato Family Wines launched Stoneleigh in the U.S. in early 2021 with a single cuveŽ of Marlborough sauvignon blanc produced for the American market. The Rising Star brand immediately found favor with sommeliers, fine wine retail buyers and other industry gatekeepers — particularly in the on-premise channel, says Lauren Brown, Stoneleigh’s brand manager.

It helped that Jamie Marfell — Stoneleigh’s winemaker for the past 20 years — visited the U.S. in 2023 to reach out in person to sommeliers and other fine- wine professionals in key markets. “Jamie’s passion for Stoneleigh’s legacy and the unique attributes of New Zealand wine resonated with on-premise trade, helping to drive significantly increased on-premise sales in every market that he visited,” Brown says.

The Crossings, another New Zealand sauvignon blanc, won a Fast Track award. In addition to developing new eye-catching, in-store displays to reinforce the brand’s coastal positioning in the off-premise, The Crossings also invested in aerial advertising along shorelines in key markets, says Sarah Gorvitz, vice president of communications for parent company Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “The Crossings also executed experiential sampling activations at events to further encourage in-store purchase.”

Bubbles Up

The major prosecco brands continue to post growth as U.S. consumers have embraced the Italian sparkler for its good value and sense of fun. For example, Mionetto is an Established Growth brand winner this year, while Gallo’s La Marca took a Fast Track award.

Josh Cellars Prosecco, a Rising Star, ran an in-store cocktail solution program, developing a variety of unique and approachable drink recipes to help drive display during the spring time period, says Gorvitz.

The company will support the prosecco with an advertising campaign during 2024 holiday, “which is the key selling period for sparkling,” she adds. Josh Cellars Prosecco will also be poured at key experiential tour events at music festivals across the country.

Getting the Edge

Bringing younger legal age drinkers into the wine world has been a challenge in recent years. Unconventional brand names and themes often have an edge. For instance, Unshackled from The Prisoner Wine Co. describes itself as “A California wine brand for those who would rather express themselves than conform.” The Constellation Brands wine took a Rising Star award this year.

“Younger LDA wine drinkers are looking for alternatives to traditional wine culture, which some see as ‘dusty’,” says Vu. Foley’s Fast Track brand Banshee “offers this demographic an edgy, cool and independently minded brand, backed by top-scoring, cool-climate wines at approachable price points,” he notes. “It is currently the second-fastest-growing brand in the top 20, up 52%.”

How does the company reach these drinkers? “Our Rock Like a Banshee platform uses music to connect through live experiences and social content, which resonates with the younger wine-drinking demographic,” says Vu.

Foley extended the Rock Like a Banshee program to rooftop winemaker dinners in Sacramento, New York and Chicago this past year, he adds. “We will also continue building our Rock Like a Banshee platform, bringing Banshee to culturally relevant events in rock music, whether it is the Grammys, live concerts or music festivals.”

Banshee plans to continue its leadership in cool-climate pinot noir with the launch of its Santa Barbara County appellation pinot noir.

“We have made this an on-premise exclusive, as younger consumers continue to embrace dining out,” says Vu.

Better-for-you Bottles

Several wines have benefitted from the burgeoning low-/no-alcohol movement. Alcohol-removed wine brand Fre, from Trinchero Family Estates, has been a category leader and innovator for more than 30 years. The Fast Track winner this past October launched “mini” single-serve wines in 187-ml. formats in the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon varietals.

Bread & Butter Wines, an Established Growth winner this year from WX Brands, in April 2024 announced the launch of Bread & Butter Sliced. The new chardonnay, which has just 85 calories per serving and 9% ABV, is the first sub-line for Bread & Butter.

Bota Box Breeze, a wine lower in calories, carbohydrates and alcohol from premium boxed wine brand Bota Box, won a Rising Star this year. Launched in 2021, Bota Box Breeze is now the leading light wine brand, says marketing director Andrew Blok.

The brand has resonated with younger people and health-conscious consumers, Blok notes. Bota Box Breeze in January added a cabernet sauvignon to the line, which includes pinot grigio, dry rosé, sauvignon blanc, red wine blend and chardonnay.

Yellow Tail Pure Bright, a line of lower-calorie, lower-ABV white wines, benefitted from strong off-premise promotions and activations in 2023, says Gorvitz. Capitalizing on the consumer trend of “Dry January,” the brand’s “Dry-ish” January campaign, which included a national sweepstakes and with Home Gym Giveaway, helped contribute to significant growth for the brand during a typically slower month for the wine and spirits industry.

Yellow Tail Pure Bright is a line of lower-calorie, lower-ABV white wines.

Pure Bright also capitalized on a new collaboration with iHeartRadio, she adds, which included live consumer sampling at major music festivals throughout summer supported by dedicated in-store display.

Yellow Tail also ran national media for Pure Bright across social platforms to drive awareness and encourage in-store purchase throughout the year.

Sustainability Sells

A prevalent consumer macro trend right now is a growing concern for eco-friendly, sustainably sourced products, “which is especially meaningful to Millennial consumers,” says Brown. Stoneleigh wines are crafted from 100% certified sustainable vineyards, and “a fundamental part of Stoneleigh’s identity is our partnership with nature, and we take pride in our 100% certified sustainable and vegan-certified wine, which aligns well with sustainability-minded U.S. wine drinkers.”

To promote the Chalk Hill brand, “We hosted events and on-premise dinners highlighting our unique Chalk Hill AVA, highlighting the meticulous attention to detail, decades of clonal research, sustainable viticulture practices and a minimalist approach to winemaking all combine to produce wines of character, richness and elegance,” says Vu. “Our Elevated Culinary is an extension of our estate’s wonderful culinary garden, inspiring local garden pairings with our award-winning wines.”

In addition to Bota Box Breeze, Bota Box won two more Growth Brands awards this year: a Comeback Brands award for the core 3-liter box brand, and another Rising Star for the Bota Box Mini line extension. The eco-friendly, portable packaging is important to people, Blok says. “We like to say, ‘we go where glass can’t’,” such as picnics, beaches and other outdoor events.

Consumers today are more accepting of boxed wines and they appreciate the quality for value, Blok says. The Bota Box Mini, a 500-ml. Tetra-Pak format, “has been a huge winner for us” since its launch in 2012. The brand this past December announced that Bota Box Breeze’s popular pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc varietals will be available in the mini format.

It’s a big year for Bota Box. Not only does the brand enter the Growth Brands Hall of Fame, thanks to winning its 15th award, but parent company Delicato Family Wines also celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024.

Promotional Power

Growth Brands winners plan to keep up the pace with various promotions this year. For instance, Stoneleigh will run a robust national sauvignon blanc and seafood pairing promotion both in the on- and off-premise channels this year, Brown says. “We’ve found that Stoneleigh’s crisp, food-friendly taste profile resonates with consumers looking for a wine to pair with popular seafood and sushi dishes, both at home and in restaurants.”

In the retail channel, “we’ll be executing impactful displays conveniently located by seafood and sushi sections, as well as consumer-loved brand tie-in partners and in-store sushi and Stoneleigh pairings to garner recognition and trial of the brand,” says Brown.

The Pure Bright brand will continue to leverage media in the coming year, says Gorvitz, “with regional buys in key markets across the country, in addition to executing more in-person tasting opportunities, including sampling at health and wellness venues and a return of the Yellow Tail iHeartRadio summer sampling activation.”

The Crossings will keep building on the momentum the brand gained in 2023 with an investment in digital and social paid media in key markets with creative designed to connect consumers to its coastal positioning, Gorvitz says. The brand plans to invest in a spring and summer influencer campaign with a strong regional focus tied to its top sales markets and will expand its coastal aerial advertising execution in 2024, she adds.

As a complement to the strong display execution Josh Cellars Prosecco and Reserve receives from wholesaler and retail partners, the brand’s advertising continues to be a key factor in driving increased buyer penetration and sales, Gorvitz says. “Paid media has become a core short- and long-term growth driver for Josh Cellars overall, especially in the off-premise, and the brand continues to invest in digital media to support awareness and increased brand equity.”

The pandemic made consumers more comfortable with buying wine online, says Vu of Foley Family Wines. “To address this, we invested heavily in our e-commerce platform,, making it easier for consumers to discover and purchase our wines online and access the unique benefits of our wine clubs.”

Foley Family Wines sees continued growth in the $15-plus price segment, he adds. “Banshee, Ferrari-Carano and Chalk Hill are all winning in those price points, with unique propositions and wines that over-deliver.”

Feature photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash.

Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine, our on-premise sister publication. Contact her at, and read her recent pieces, 7 Beverage Alcohol Trends for 2024 and The Top Gin Trends in 2024.


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