By James Atkinson
Amid ongoing reports that Woolworths is looking to buy a South Australian winery, director of liquor Brad Banducci has outlined the retailer's progress in taking its private label strategy to a more sophisticated level.
Both Woolworths and receiver McGrathNicol have declined to comment on persistent reports linking the retailer with financially stricken winery, Barossa Valley Estate.
But Banducci yesterday said the company had continued the strong growth of its own and exclusive brands in the half-year to December 31, including major launches such as the Sail & Anchor craft beer range and Chris Ringland CR and Reserve Shiraz.
He said the Chris Ringland wines were managed through Dorrien Winemaking and bottled at Vinpac, two businesses the company acquired as part of the Cellarmasters Group acquisition in April 2011.
Banducci confirmed Woolworths had formally launched Pinnacle Liquor Group in August last year, aligning the liquor production, marketing and product development teams for its own and exclusive brands under an integrated management structure.
"We think that was essential because in order to grow own or exclusive brands, you do need to be a very disciplined brand builder," he told analysts.
"We're about building brands, we're not about building private label. There is a massive difference between those two things."