Beringer Bets on Hispanic Market as Wine Growth Category

Hispanic Consumption Greatly Outpacing General Market Growth

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NEW YORK ( -- Enchiladas go well with chardonnay or pinot grigio wines, and strong, spicy foods like mole can be paired with a sauvignon blanc, according to Beringer Vineyards' new Spanish-language wine wheel, part of an innovative pilot program starting this week to target U.S. Hispanics.

Although beer and tequila get plenty of ad dollars, the wine category has largely ignored Hispanics except for a few holiday ads or translations of general-market campaigns -- until now.

UNCORKED: Hispanic wine consumption is outpacing general market growth three times the rate.
UNCORKED: Hispanic wine consumption is outpacing general market growth three times the rate.

"There's big growth in the Hispanic segment and wine drinking by Latinos," said Francesca Schuler, who joined Beringer's owner Treasury Wine Estates as chief marketing officer of the Americas a year ago from Method Products, where she was head of marketing at the environmentally friendly household products company. Since 2005, wine consumption among Hispanics has grown by 35%, about three times the rate of the general market, she said. "Hispanics account for about 50% of growth [in the wine category]," Ms. Schuler said.

"When people say they're interested in multicultural marketing, there are people who really mean it and others who just say, 'Put it all in Spanish,'" she said. "Sometimes you're totally offended by what people try to pass off as Hispanic."

For Beringer, it means inviting Hispanics to make Beringer part of their traditions, and including a strong educational element, both consistent with how the brand is positioned in the general market.

The campaign, by Los Angeles agency Baru Advertising, is themed "Invita el Sabor" ("Welcome Home the Flavor") and kicks off Sept. 13 in Los Angeles with a TV spot set at a backyard barbecue, a family dinner and a kitchen where a couple cook together. (Beringer isn't doing TV in the general market).

Vignettes also start this week on lifestyle TV programs "Tu Estilo" on Univision and "Acceso Total" on Telemundo, featuring Beringer winemaker Leticia Chacon Rodriquez, who is from Mexico. In the vignettes, she talks about food and wine pairings, Beringer's history and wine basics. Univision will also air "promercials" with the network's voiceover artists talking about wine pairings for holidays and grilling. And Telemundo's "Acceso Total" hosts will also do a 13-part weekly series of two-minute segments in which they visit popular Latino restaurants in Los Angeles and ask the chef to prepare dishes with different Beringer wines.

Promotional materials to be given out at events and retail locations include the wine wheel, divided into three flavor groups, with suggestions for Latino dishes for each group.

In print collateral material, the food pictured is all Latino: empanadas, taquitos, guacamole. "Often on wine and foodie websites, they pair a wine with a pungent Brie cheese. Everyday Latino consumers don't spend time in the French cheese section," said Elizabeth Barrutia, Baru's CEO.

The initial pilot marketing campaign in southern California will run till the end of the year.

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