In June 2019, Frederick Wildman & Sons acquired Bolla with the vision to expand their wine offerings into the mainstream.
Founded in 1883 by Abele Bolla and family, Bolla began with Soave wine and then over the years became a portfolio offering of Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Valpolicella to name a few. Through a commitment to quality and associations with famous celebrities and icons in the 1950s and 1960s, the brand catapulted to growth in the US market and beyond. In the late 1970s, the brand’s annual volume equaled one million cases but for the last 30 years has suffered declines.
“For many the brand has meant so much, so it is surprising it has been in decline. A combination of pricing factors, changing management and consumer shifts contributed to the downward trend,” said Paige Meneses, Senior Brand Manager for Bolla and other Family Brands at Frederick Wildman & Sons. “Frederick Wildman’s goal is to revitalize the brand.”
Under new leadership and with renewed investment and resources, Frederick Wildman & Sons has a comprehensive plan to turn the brand around. “Bolla has strong brand awareness and equity. It is a brand with a long history and an iconic sense-of-place,” Meneses summarized. The core of Wildman’s plan is to recruit new consumers through a 360 media plan which they will invest in over the next few years. Their goal is to communicate the new face of Bolla and drive consideration among consumers who might not have looked at the brand before. The company has partnered with world class agencies to execute their strategic vision.
The company has high hopes that their investment will gain the attention of restaurateurs, sommeliers, liquor stores, and everyday consumers alike. The brand is committed to growing, but highly values their industry relationships. “When the restaurants are growing and the numbers are up, we are growing. We advance together,” Meneses said.
The rebranding efforts have been labor intensive and taken time Meneses shared. “We really had to rebuild the brand from its foundations. We were committed to taking our time and doing it right. At the core the brand is a quality Italian table wine. The challenge is figuring out how to differentiate it from all the other wines out there. What makes Bolla different? Answering that question has been a journey for us,” she said.