GALLO, SUTTER JOIN GUSH OF WINE ADS

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Wine advertising, gone dry for the past few years, is flowing once again.

E&J Gallo Winery next month breaks an estimated $8 million campaign for Turning Leaf, a midlevel wine at $6 to $7 a bottle, with chardonnay and cabernet the first two varieties available in the nationwide rollout. Positioned against Kendall-Jackson and Sutter Home, the wine is aimed at the youth market, 25- to 35-year-olds.

Two 30-second spots, starting next month, show young adults enjoying wine in settings such as a bistro style cafe. Spots are tagged "There's a turning leaf on the label and changing ideas about wine inside the bottle." Print is scheduled to run in November issues of food and wine magazines. Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, handles.

Gallo, with sales down 4% to 26.6 million cases for the first half of 1995 vs. the first half of '94, also plans to launch a second new product, Burlwood varietal wines, for restaurant use, later this year.

"Gallo is in the process of extending its reach across the entire spectrum of the wine industry," said Paul Gillette, publisher of Wine Investor, Los Angeles. The winery is positioning products from $60 a bottle for estate wine to Carlo Rossi brands, at $3, and excluding the family name from the lower-end products.

Heublein already has such a reach, and two other wineries, Sebastiani and Robert Mondavi, have similar designs, Mr. Gillette said.

The new effort will return Gallo to TV after a hiatus of almost two years.

"Gallo accounts for 60% to 65% of the dollars spent on wine advertising," said Paul Hetterich, VP-brand manager at Canandaigua Wine Co. "The pendulum swings with their media weight."

Wine advertising overall last year dropped 30% from 1993, to $49 million, according to Impact, an M. Shanken Communications publication in New York covering wine, spirits and beer news. While spot and cable TV enjoyed healthy gains in 1994, wine category spending on magazines and network and syndicated TV dropped significantly, from half to a quarter of former levels.

But the industry appears to be on the rebound as it evolves from a cottage trade into a mature consumer products business, with some wineries trying to build share by adding measured media to their usual blend of promotions, public relations and business-to-business efforts.

Sutter Home Winery, continuing with a humorous approach, broke its first TV campaign, depicting small moments in everyday life in casual settings, free of wine jargon and pretense, and tagged "Here's to each and every day." Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, handles the estimated $5 million campaign.

Franzia Bros. Winery, owned by the Wine Group, has an ongoing, estimated $2 million TV effort, via Young & Rubicam, with one 15-second spot promoting the freshness of its bag-in-the-box product. Sales for both the Franzia box wine and Gallo's Peter Vella offering have been growing at more than 10% a year, industry watchers say. "They have done a very good job with entry-level wine drinkers," Mr. Gillette said.

Robert Mondavi Corp. has a $2 million print campaign backing its red Robert Mondavi wines. Four artistic sketches, such as an antique wine vessel with sheet music, illustrate the romance of the grape. The campaign, from Ketchum Advertising, will run in national magazines.

Canandaigua's fall and holiday efforts include a reappearance on TV, via cable, of Inglenook Estate Cellars jug wine.

The newly formed Wine Marketing Council, a group of 20 wineries, plans to test a $1.5 million wine campaign next spring through Citron Haligman Bedecarre.

In addition, some wineries are planning more aggressive promotions. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi teams up with the National Pork Producers Council for a fall cross-promotion with its "Taste what's next. Pork. The other white meat" campaign offering consumer coupons on bottle neck tags for fresh pork.

The campaign is similar to commodity promotions pioneered by the California Milk Processor Advisory Board, which teamed with cookie and cereal manufacturers in distributing milk coupons.

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