Philip Lynch of E & J Gallo tells ShelfLife how the brand is faring and about the many plans it has in place for the coming summer
Apr 17 2012
Philip Lynch, Ireland country manager, E & J Gallo Winery
Philip Lynch has joined E & J Gallo Winery as Ireland country manager after two years as national account manager with Danone Ireland. Previously Philip worked in sales, trade marketing and national account management roles with Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard. Lynch tells ShelfLife how the brand is faring and about the many plans it has in place for the coming summer.
Congratulations on your new position. Are you happy to be back in the drinks industry?
Yes, it’s good to be back working with old friends and acquaintances while doing something I love. It’s both exciting and challenging to be working with the E & J Gallo brand, the largest family owned winery in the world, with the wine market here in Ireland growing and evolving so rapidly.
What particular attributes do you feel that you have brought to the role?
My extensive experience, coupled with my passion for wines, brings a real sense of purpose and a comprehensive understanding of what needs to happen to maximise E & J Gallo’s potential in the Irish market.
My role will involve raising awareness, amongst both the Irish trade and consumer, about the wide range of wines available from the E & J Gallo portfolio, including Gallo Family Vineyards and Barefoot Cellars.
I believe my drive will help Gallo Family Vineyards regain its market leading position here in Ireland, introducing Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato and also Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon during the year.
Can you tell us about E & J Gallo’s history in the Irish market?
Gallo Family Vineyards has been a favourite wine of Irish consumers for over 20 years, regularly introducing new varietals that suit even the most discerning of palettes; readily available at affordable prices.
Gallo Family Vineyards is currently the second best selling Californian wine in Ireland, however innovative launches of new varietals planned for the brand this summer, such as Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato mentioned previously, should support the brand taking the lead again in 2012.
What, in your opinion, is the hero wine of the portfolio?
Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato! Moscato is experiencing fantastic growth in the US at +73% on last year and is being tipped as the leading innovation in the UK for 2012. Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato is a low alcohol (8.5% ABV), naturally sweet white wine, which I think Irish consumers will really enjoy.
There have been significant decreases in the price of wine and alcohol in general in the last couple of years in Ireland. How has the company responded to the consumer’s appetite for value?
With over 50% of all wine sold in Ireland priced between €7 and €10, E & J Gallo wines offer fantastic value for money across all our brands, with Gallo Family Vineyards retailing at €8.49 and the Barefoot Cellars retailing at €8.99.
Our primary focus is varietal wines, many of which are award winners - wines we know Irish wine drinkers want
to drink, offered at prices that they want to pay.
How many bottles of wine does the company sell in a year in the Irish market?
Our Irish wine sales are well into six figures and continuing to grow.
10 International is the new distributor for your brand in Ireland. When did this partnership come about?
10 International Ireland became E & J Gallo’s distributor in January of this year. We’re working closely with the
team at 10 International, and it is proving to be a great partnership with a fantastic start to 2012.
Are there any particular plans that you intend implementing in 2012?
Throughout 2012, E & J Gallo will be running great value price promotions on our Gallo Family Vineyards, Barefoot Cellars, Turning Leaf and Dancing Bull ranges.
Barefoot Cellars will be taking a stand at Taste of Dublin in June, where consumers will get a chance to taste Barefoot wines’ award-winning portfolio, created by winemaker Jennifer Wall.
Jennifer will also be visiting Ireland herself in June, introducing some exciting new varietals to the market, and no doubt will be reporting back to Michael Houlihan (the Irish creator of the Barefoot Cellars brand) on how his Irish cousins are enjoying Barefoot wines.
Barefoot Cellars will also be joining the surf, with our Barefoot team, in support of Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival in Bundoran from 29 June – 1 July.
Finally we’ll be running our Gallo Movie Club promotion through July and August featuring Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato, Summer Red and White Zinfandel – a very busy summer programme for the brand, which really showcases E & J Gallo Wines’ commitment to the Irish market.
Where do you see growth coming from in the wine industry in the year ahead?
Such a hard question with so many imponderables like potential duty increases, minimum pricing and exchange rates, before we even mention the economy!
Judging by overseas markets I see a potential shift in consumer behaviour to lighter alcohol wines of 10.5% ABV or less, more generally supporting brands which offer both quality and value, that they can easily relate to.
I believe we will continue to socialise with our friends and family, through entertaining at home, special occasions or just staying in with your better half, which is the ideal time to enjoy a bottle of wine, preferably a bottle of wine from your friends at E & J Gallo!
What’s your favourite wine and why?
There’s not enough time in the day for that question! I enjoy a glass of Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon at the end of a day. Barefoot Pinot Grigio is so refreshing, Dancing Bull Zinfandel for Sunday dinner with the family, but my guilty pleasure, just added to our Irish range, is Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, all that a Napa Valley Cabernet should be. Look out for it, it’s truly amazing!