Wine is an extremely fragmented industry. I know of few, if any, markets that are equally fragmented. Beer, for instance is far more dominated by a few big companies. But even if that is the case, the wine market is much more concentrated, with bigger players, than what the average consumer thinks.
Most people imagine that wine is made by a small (or small-ish) wine farm, with grapes picked by hand, fermented in quaint bodegas etc. This is rarely the case. A lot of wine is made by big companies. But it is difficult to know since you rarely see the names of these big companies on the labels.
Take Argentina as an example. A recent article on WineSur illustrates this quite well. It talks about the latest wine production numbers in Argentina and who are the biggest players there.
Four companies dominate the Argentine wine market with a total market share of 52%:
- Fecovita with 22% of the market
- Peñaflor, 17%
- Baggio, 8%
- Bodegas Esmeralda, 5%
Fecovita is a grouping of cooperatives, Federación de Cooperativas Vitivinícolas Argentinas. It is not unusual that co-operatives are large producers. It is more the rule than an exception. Many wine regions have big and powerful coops. But that one single grouping of co-operatives in Argentina controls 22% of the market was a surprise for me. They must also be a very important political factor in the country.
Fecovita has 5000 wine growers, organised in 29 separate local co-operatives controlling some 30,000 hectares. They made more than 260 million litres of wine in 2014. It would take quite some digging to find all the brands that they produce.
Peñaflor is a group owned by the Bemberg family since 2010. It groups together some more or less well-known wineries, or brands: Trapiche, Finca las Moras, Bodega el Esteco, Andean, Suter, Bodegas la Rosa and Santa Ana. Annual turnover US$ 440 million in 2014, claiming to have 23% of the exports of quality wine from Argentina, owning more than 6,100 hectares, and no doubt buying grapes from many more.
Baggio, or RPB, is a diversified food company producing many different fruit products, drinks and food. Even though the origin of the company was wine production in Mendoza, wine seems to represent only a small part of their activity today. They market wine under a number of different brands: Bodega Privada, Ricordi, Viejo Vinedo, Finca Rosario, El Supremo, Bodega Uvita, Chapany, Vinya Mayor…
Bodegas Esmeralda works with several different product ranges or brands: Esmeralda Fernandez, Estiba I, Gran Rodas, Tilia, Retamo, Dos Lomos, Canopia…
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