Innovation hub to develop, incubate new brands
WOODINVILLE, Wash. (December 2, 2019) – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates today announced the formation of ēlicit Wine Project, an innovation hub to develop and incubate new brands and products grounded in rich consumer insights.
“Over the past five years, virtually all growth in the premium wine segment has come from new products – products that didn’t exist prior to that period,” said Jim Mortensen, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “We’ve successfully introduced several products during this time, but this new team will enable us to move more quickly to bring innovative concepts to market and capture our share of this growth.”
ēlicit Wine Project will be led by Patrick Kozel, previously Director of Insights and Innovation for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and now Director for ēlicit Wine Project. Prior to joining Ste. Michelle in 2011, Kozel held similar roles with Ascentia Wine Estates, Beam Wine Estates and Allied Domecq; and has more than 20 years of wine industry experience in marketing, market research, business development and sales.
“Coming off the success of brands like INTRINSIC and Prayers of Sinner & Saints, we’ve built a team focused on deep consumer understanding and the development of new offerings that challenge the wine industry’s status quo,” said Kozel.
“The formation of ēlicit Wine Project is a concrete step in our journey to modernize our marketing,” said Francis Perrin, Chief Marketing Officer for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “ēlicit Wine Project will focus on identifying new consumer insights to quickly bring to market new products, brands and consumer experiences. This exciting initiative will enable us to anticipate where wine consumers are going in the future and explore new paths to commercialize our great wines.”
“ēlicit Wine Project will be insulated but not isolated from the rest of our organization, allowing the team to move quickly to respond to rapidly-evolving consumer and industry trends,” said Dan Werth, Chief Operating Officer for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “ēlicit Wine Project will leverage our world-class winemaking team and our best-in-class field sales team to bring ideas from conception to consumption as quickly as possible.”
ēlicit Wine Project will launch three new brands in 2020.
Liquid Light™ – a vibrant, crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State – launched in Illinois and Florida in 2019 and will be available nationwide in January.
Inspired by the recently-discovered fifth state of matter – liquid crystals – Liquid Light™ is an ultra-high-acid expression of Sauvignon Blanc that reflects a vibrant spectrum of citrus, tropical and orchard fruit aromas and flavors.
Liquid Light™ retails for $13.99 per 750ml bottle.
Fruit & Flower™, which includes a Chardonnay in 750ml bottles as well as Sparkling, Chardonnay, and Rosé in two-packs of 250ml cans, is the ideal lifestyle accessory for the urban interior greenery movement.
All three Fruit & Flower™ wines feature fruit-forward flavors and floral aromas, along with highly-expressive, fruit and flower-themed packaging.
The 750ml Chardonnay retails for $12.99 per bottle, and the 250ml varietal cans retail for $10.99 per two-pack. All wines and formats will be available nationwide in January.
Altered Dimension™ is perhaps the most immersive visual experience ever committed to wine bottles.
Inspired by visually-intensive, perception-bending experiential art installations – Altered Dimension™ invites you to immerse yourself in the full experience of every bottle, from the moment you first see the label to the last drop you enjoy from your glass.
Altered Dimension™ offers three package expressions – black (Cabernet Sauvignon), white (Sauvignon Blanc), and pink (Rosé) – all retailing for $14.99 and all available nationwide in January.
ēlicit Wine Project will unveil all three new brands with a launch event exclusively for media in New York on March 12.
ēlicit Wine Project will also manage several brands previously introduced under the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio: ANEW (anewwine.com), Borne of Fire (borneoffire.com), The Cosmic Egg Wine Co. (thecosmiceggwineco.com), INTRINSIC™ Wine Co. (intrinsicwineco.com), MERF Wines (merfwines.com), Prayers of Sinners & Saints (sinnersandsaintswine.com), and Tenet Wines (tenetwines.com).
About ēlicit Wine Project
ēlicit Wine Project is the innovation hub for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Formed in 2019, ēlicit Wine Project exists to deliver brands and products that provoke reactions and stir emotions. By grounding itself in rich consumer insights and leveraging world-class winemaking and marketing talent, ēlicit Wine Project brings brands and products to life that don’t just respond to current consumer preferences but anticipate and create the consumer trends of the future. The ēlicit Wine Project portfolio of brands includes: Altered Dimension, ANEW, Borne of Fire, The Cosmic Egg Wine Co., Fruit & Flower, INTRINSIC™ Wine Co., Liquid Light, MERF Wines, Prayers of Sinners & Saints and Tenet Wines.
About Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, located outside of Seattle, Washington, has a distinguished history that dates back to 1934. The company pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington State while wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967. Today, Ste. Michelle owns more than 3,900 vineyard acres across Washington, Oregon and California with key sites certified with the LIVE, Salmon Safe or Napa Green designations. Ste. Michelle’s ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands, all demonstrating the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high quality wines from authentic estate vineyards. Chateau Ste. Michelle, its cornerstone winery, enjoys winemaking partnerships with some of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori, Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen and Tenet is a collaboration with Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie of France. Ste. Michelle’s charitable giving program, which supports some 400 non-profit organizations annually, has provided more than $3 million for scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students at Washington universities. The company also was the principal fundraiser for Washington State University’s viticulture and enology institution, the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Wine Science Center.
Ste. Michelle’s Washington portfolio includes: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Col Solare, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, MERF, INTRINSIC, Seven Falls and Michelle sparkling wines. In California, the company owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek (Napa Valley) and Patz & Hall (Sonoma). Ste. Michelle also owns Erath Winery, in Dundee, Oregon. The company became the exclusive U.S. importer in 2006 for the renowned Marchesi Antinori wines of Italy and Chile’s Haras de Pirque wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, and for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010.