The decision comes following intensive consumer research, according to Mathew Bird, marketing director for Wines Pernod Ricard UK.
Brancott Estate is the name of the estate in Marlborough on New Zealand’s South Island where Sauvignon Blanc grapes were first planted in 1975. The first harvest being 1979.
A key factor in changing the name of what is one of the best known wine brands, is probably the fact that in the US the wine is already called Brancott Estate to avoid US consumers thinking the wine may come from the Treasure State in the upper mid-west.
At the moment Montana (and Brancott), the brand, sells 1.2 million 9-litre cases and the brand accounts for 10% of New Zealand wine exports (12 months to July 2009). Exports account for 75% of total sales.
Announced today (June 22) is that Brancott Estate will be the official sponsor of the Rugby World Cup which takes place in New Zealand in September next year. The tournament is expected to be seen by a worldwide audience estimated at 4 billion, with 20 nations competing in 48 matches.
Pernod Ricard New Zealand managing director, Fabian Partigliani, said: “Our sponsorship of Rugby World Cup 2011 provides the perfect platform to help drive immediate global awareness of Brancott Estate as a leading New Zealand wine brand, particularly in key export markets such as the UK, Asia and Australia, and, of course, our home market in New Zealand.”
“We are extremely proud to be the first New Zealand based brand to support and commit to such a significant event to be held on home soil and this global investment will ensure our New Zealand wines continue to stand out on the world stage. The name change from Montana to Brancott Estate will be rolled out globally from September 2010 to coincide with the impressive 2010 vintage.”
Bird told Drinks International that Pernod’s commitment to the brand and the name change will be evidenced by its doubling of investment during the transition form Montana to Brancott Estate. He said it will take the nascent brand into the top four UK wine brands – Jacob’s Creek (also owned by Pernod Ricard), Blossom Hill (Diageo), Hardy (Constellation) and Wolf Blass (Foster’s). The aim is to take the brand to 2m cases annually.