Wilson Daniels Partners with the Historic Provence Winery, Commanderie de Peyrassol
Facing a host of challenges this year ranging from 25% tariffs on some European wines to the outbreak of a global pandemic and on-premise shutdown, importer and distributor Wilson Daniels has forged ahead and expects to be revenue-neutral for the year at $150 million.The company hasn’t slowed down despite the tough conditions. It added Spain’s Torres to its import portfolio in September, and is now announcing a partnership with Provence-based Commanderie de Peyrassol, which is owned by the Austruy family and has 90 hectares (222 acres) of vineyards at its 1,000-hectare estate in the foothills of the Massif des Maures. Shanken News Daily executive editor Daniel Marsteller caught up with Wilson Daniels president Rocco Lombardo and vice president of marketing Scott Diaz to discuss the new partnership.
SND: What does Commanderie de Peyrassol bring to the Wilson Daniels portfolio?
Lombardo: Commanderie de Peyrassol goes back to the Knights Templar—it’s been harvested since 1256. It’s a property that was imported by Rosenthal for the last 30 years. Our mission is to partner with family-owned, estate-driven wineries, and this property is a historic reference point for the area. So it fits closely with our core principles, and that’s the reason for the partnership. Currently Peyrassol is selling right around 20,000 cases in the U.S. The goal for year one with our network and our Wilson Daniels wholesale partnerships is to sell 30,000 cases.
Diaz: Provence is a category that’s obviously been growing, but it’s also having an identity crisis. With Peyrassol, we’re entrenching ourselves in the history of the area and the region. As Rocco said, it aligns with the DNA of our portfolio. We’ve got many wineries well over 100 years old, and this fits right in. It’s a well-regarded brand in the marketplace.
SND: What does the Peyrassol portfolio look like?
Lombardo: Their lead item is the Cuvee des Commandeurs, which has a $25 SRP and makes up roughly 60% of the business. They’re also known for their estate wines like Chateau Peyrassol and La Clos Peyrassol. Other wines in the range include Réserve des Templiers Rosé at roughly $18, and an IGP Mediteranée La Croix des Templiers Rosé at $15. But the Cuvee des Commandeurs is the flagship. We’ll be launching the portfolio nationally in February.
SND: Do the tariffs on French wines in the U.S. affect how you bring the brand to market?
Lombardo: We’re hopeful that the incoming administration will look for more of a diplomatic approach and find a resolution to the problem, but we’re mitigating the tariffs for nearly all of our French producers with a partnering effort from ourselves and the wineries to compress margins so that we don’t have higher prices coming into the marketplace.
Diaz: Realistically, with a large amount of rosé now coming to the U.S. in that February timeframe, there will probably still be a tariff in place when it gets here. So we’re planning for that accordingly.