Robert Mondavi and the Wine Industry

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Since the late 1960’s, California wine-maker Robert Mondavi has been perceived by its stakeholders as one of the world’s most innovative and high-quality producers of fine wine. It is therefore not surprising that the company has endured great financial success; in fact, it has secured an impressive annual growth in earnings per share of ~28% over the last 8 years. Recently however, there have been many external forces that may serve to threaten the long-term profitability of the firm: sales have been decreasing over the last 6 months due to a staggering economy, Australian imports are on the rise, shrinking the size of the pie for domestic firms, and there has been an industry wide trend to consolidate; existing firms are merging and…show more content…
Smaller firms such as the family run operations in Europe may not be able to realize these same cost efficiencies. Furthermore, grapes represent 50 to 70% of a winemakers COGS, thus the competition for sourcing high quality grape growers is quite high. Just as Mondavi does for 75% of its purchases, most premium wine makers enter into long-term contracts with growers to not only ensure that their demand is met but also to make sure that they receive grapes that are consistent in quality. Due to the fact that consumers have a plethora of premium wines (substitutes) to choose from and there is no penalty for switching between brands consumer buying power is fairly high, making consumers sensitive to price increases. As previously mentioned, the competition for sourcing quality grape growers is high making switching costs high as well. In order to circumvent the dependency on outside growers, Mondavi is starting to increase its internal sourcing capabilities. The premium wine segment is quite concentrated with high barriers to entry making mergers and acquisitions a strong and prevalent growth strategy. With industry analysts forecasting the demand for premium wine to grow at 8% to 10% per year, many former non-rivals are now becoming a threat. Jug wine producers are entering the premium market and beer and spirit producers

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