Brown Brothers leads Australian moscato revival
From bubbly to still to fortified, Australia has fallen madly in love with Moscato.
In fact, it's become our most popular white wine, with Brown Brothers Moscato the No.1 best selling label in the country.
Meanwhile, its sister label, Innocent Bystander, is the world's most searched pink Moscato according to Wine Searcher and was the only non-Italian Moscato to make its Top 10 Most Searched Moscato's list in 2017.
Moscato sales have been surging in Australia since 2008, increasing at a rate of about 20% a year. The variety also underpinned a 10% leap in Australian wine exports in 2016-17.
Coined as a phrase by one of the biggest wine companies in the US - E. & J. Gallo Winery - "Moscato madness" is gripping the world.
Moscato is particularly popular with millenials, with 50% of Moscato drinkers are under 45 years of age. Its appeal has been attributed to the fruity grape being a gateway into wine for first-time drinkers.
Hip-hop culture has also lent Moscato street cred, with Lil’ Kim singing “Still over in Brazil/Sipping Moscato,” while Kendrick Lamar raps “We need a bottle of Moscatooo/Puts me in the moment for your lovin.”
We asked Caroline Brown at Brown Brothers for the secrets to the label's success.
1. What is fuelling the popularity of Moscato in the Aussie market?
"The wine category plays strongly to notions of sophistication, elegance and the time honoured craft of winemaking. Drinking wine has become a symbol of entry into adulthood but for many, the taste of more traditional wines is challenging. Elements of oak, tannin and maturation appeal to a more experienced palate but aren’t as appealing to someone who is less involved in the category. What we love about Moscato is its approachable drinking style unlocks the ritual of savouring a glass of wine for everyone. The balance of freshness and acidity provides a refreshing alternative to more complex styles."
2. What makes Brown Brothers Moscato so loved by consumers?
"Brown Brothers has long been a symbol of quality and innovation. As a family owned and run winery, building our brand for generations to come is our foremost priority. Quality must be the cornerstone of our future success. Consumers are savvy and without quality, they will find an alternative. Equally, Brown Brothers Moscato is driven by innovation. Our mantra of 'delight people with something different' comes to life with our Moscato portfolio. When we released our first Moscato in 1996, The style was new to Australia and didn’t speak to any of the traditional wine credentials. Today the category is worth almost $160million and we enjoy a wonderfully diverse range of Moscato styles including still, sparkling, rosé, blends and premium ranges."
3. China is becoming a big export focus for many Australian wineries. Is China a big market for Brown Brothers and how has the Chinese market responded to Moscato?
"The Chinese market is a focus export market for Brown Brothers and we have found that our Moscato range is very popular with the Chinese consumer. The fruity character of the wine really appeals to the Chinese palette and we have also had great success in pairing the range to Asian-style food. For Brown Brothers, Moscato is our biggest growth range in China. Our Moscato ranges has seen approximately 50% growth, year on year, in this market and as more and more consumers begin to drink imported wine we expect sales to stay solid."
4. What is the secret to making a great Moscato?
"Well we don’t like to give all our secrets away as winemakers but it all starts with really flavoursome fruit from the vineyards and then it is our job as winemakers to make sure all of our steps retain all of the grape aromas and flavours. Making a low alcohol wine can be a challenge so careful attention while they are fermenting is very important. The Brown Brothers Moscato has a lovely light amount of spritz that is retained from the ferment, so holding the wine in nice cool tanks helps us preserve this."
5. Are there any exciting plans for 2018 for Brown Brothers that you’d like to share with retailers?
"Of course! Our recently refreshed packaging is flowing through into store and we are already seeing strong results. We have freshened up the range to ensure we continue to be relevant to new Moscato consumers while ensuring we maintain continuity with our core audience. We have visually aligned our Sparkling Moscato range to our core Moscato offering to help shoppers understand the relationship between the offers and drive incremental category growth by leveraging Brown Brothers loyal audience into Sparkling occasions. We are in the process of repositioning our premium Moscato offer as a more premium expression of our core Moscato. Visually, the offer has a stronger tiered up look from our core and we are reviewing the most effective pricing strategy that will encourage more loyal Brown Brothers Moscato shoppers to trade up in the category creating stronger value growth."