C. Mondavi & Family, St. Helena, Calif., has announced plans to add imported wines to its product portfolio, starting with the acquisition of the French Blue brand from Flying Blue Imports. According to Gomberg-Fredrikson imported wines made up 28 percent of the wine purchased in the United States, and C. Mondavi & Family is poised to start benefiting from this market share, it says.

“We are excited to take this step to expand our portfolio in the import space. We believe strongly in the future of our wine brands even in the midst of a year affected by COVID-19. French Blue is a great brand with excellent wines from Bordeaux, and we feel they have great potential.” said Judd Wallenbrock, chief executive officer at C. Mondavi & Family, in a statement.

According to Ryan Kepler, senior vice president of sales at Flying Blue Imports: “We’re excited to be working with C. Mondavi & Family. They are a powerhouse in the wine business, with a truly energized salesforce, and we look forward to working with them to grow the French Blue brand.”

The initiative to import French Blue is a strategic new step for C. Mondavi & Family, a family business that began more than 100 years ago and has developed into one of the most iconic names in American wine, the company says. This will be the first time that the group has ventured outside California for any of the wines in their portfolio, marking a move that will likely attract a new set of consumers from around the country.

“The addition of French Blue to our lineup is incredibly important for us, as it will bring our wines to an audience of drinkers who normally reach for imported wines. French Rosé continues to grow strongly in the U.S., and French Blue can compete with anyone in that category,” said David Brown, senior vice president of sales at C. Mondavi. “The past four months have forced us to innovate in a number of different ways, and this will be one of the many steps we take to remain at the forefront of the industry.”

Indeed, with much of the world still under the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an extra urgency for evolution from those in the industry — especially from vignerons themselves, who have seen many sales from their on-premise accounts dry up in the past number of months, the company says.

“Having the C. Mondavi & Family team behind us means I can focus on making the best wines possible while they focus on growing the brand,” said Stephanie Rivin, winemaker at French Blue.

C. Mondavi & Family will start with importing and distributing the 2019 vintage of French Blue Bordeaux Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc.