Stel+Mar appeals to an overlooked segment of wine drinkers with unique brand positioning and highly rated wines at accessible prices
Lodi, CA (April 14, 2022): STEL+MAR wines was launched in the United States, targeting the oft-overlooked under 40 demographic with a collection of highly rated wines that are affordable in flavor, approachable in price, and brand-related.
According to 2022 State of the Wine Industry Reportthe population under 40 includes approximately 72 million people in the United States. As this demographic matures in terms of age, palates, and consumer trends, they actively seek out brands that match their personal tastes and values. To appeal to this overlooked and underserved segment of potential wine drinkers, STEL+MAR’s current selection of low-sugar wines is priced at $13.99 a bottle and features label artwork designed to resonate with its target audience. While approachable in flavor and affordable in price, STEL+MAR’s collection is anything but basic, having received high marks from Wine Enthusiast and Vivino.
Most good entrepreneurial stories begin with a chance friendship and the beginnings of STEL+MAR are no different. Founders and millennial colleagues Chris Noll and Justin Dumitrescu lived on the same street and met by chance through their children, Stella and Marcus, who attended the same preschool. Conversations about their shared love of wine and a shared passion for entrepreneurship led them to discuss the lack of wine brands that appealed to their generation. With the goal of creating affordable, unpretentious, crowd-pleasing wines that speak to their senses and values, the idea of STEL+MAR was born.
“As in other sectors, many young consumers do not turn to the same brands as their parents. They care less about status and more about shared experiences with friends and find great value in all areas of their lives. This is what STEL+MAR embodies in every bottle,” commented Dumitrescu. “STEL+MAR achieves the trifecta of good affordable wine and addresses a new psychography of the wine drinker,” continued Dumitrescu.
To bottle their vision of STEL+MAR, Chris and Justin approached a 40-year-old veteran winemaker Philippe Zorn. Classically trained in the art of winemaking in Germany, Philip moved to Napa, California in the 1970s and produced wine for some of the most notable wineries on the California coast. Philip joined STEL+MAR because he saw the value in Chris and Justin’s concept for creating award-winning wines that are affordable in taste and cost.
“I appreciate Chris and Justin’s vision of STEL+MAR and their unique approach to the industry. More importantly, their focus on all the other elements of building a successful winery allows me to focus exclusively on making the best wine possible,” Zorn commented.
STEL+MAR launches in the United States with three wines that will please everyone, affordable in terms of price and taste. Its current portfolio includes:
- California Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.99): Full-bodied and deliciously juicy, STEL+MAR’s classic-style Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes grown in select vineyards in central and northern California. The mouth explodes with fresh blackberries, caramel, a hint of coffee, and is supported by delicate tannins. Ruby red color with aromas of blackcurrant, cherry and toasted vanilla. It received a Best Buy award and an 88-point rating from Wine Enthusiast.
- California Chardonnay ($13.99): Full-bodied with bright tropical fruit, butterscotch and toasty oak spice flavors on the palate. The palate is rich and round with a long finish with layered acidity. Aromas of green apple, baked pear and nutmeg on the nose are the foundation of this everyone-pleasing California Chardonnay, which received an 87-point rating from Wine Enthusiast.
- California Rosé ($13.99): Crisp and refreshing, STEL+MAR’s first California Rose received a score of 91 from the prestigious Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. Now available in the US, this beautifully dry wine features aromas of peach and apricot, strawberry notes on the palate with refreshing acidity and grassy undertones.
“With STEL+MAR, our goal is to create the best possible wines at an attractive price for the under 40 segment. These consumers are often mistaken in thinking that they have to pay for a good wine. They worry that a bottle under $15 will provide a lackluster experience, or worse, an embarrassing experience when shared with friends. With STEL+MAR, we are proving that you can have a great tasting wine, at a price you are willing to take a chance on,” commented Noll.
Concerned about the environment and good taste, all STEL+MAR products use lightweight glass bottles to reduce the carbon footprint created during the shipping process and source the majority of their grapes from certified vineyards by the California Sustainable Wine Alliance.
Art inside and out
For Chris and Justin, what happens outside the bottle is as important as what happens inside. To bring its fun, vintage California vibe to life, STEL+MAR collaborated with artist Stephanie Cheng, whose illustrative designs have been commissioned by renowned artists such as Radiohead, Lizzo and Childish Gambino.
Chris and Justin entrusted Stephanie with highlighting the good times friends look for when they share a bottle of wine. With images of idyllic 1950s California beach scenery that capture the laid-back fun among friends, Stephanie’s art parallels the experience STEL+MAR strives to deliver in liquid form.
“The art on our labels is as unique to the industry as it is eye-catching. The majority of wine labels in the $10-$20 category don’t speak to the younger generation, and if they do, the product inside is often of questionable quality,” Dumitrescu added. “We wanted labels with illustrations that you would want to hang on your walls, without thinking at first that it was a wine label.”
California, Canada, and back
While based in California, STEL+MAR first launched in Canada in 2020, giving the team time to test their brand identity and make improvements before entering the market hyper-competitive and much larger American in 2022.
To ensure nationwide distribution success, STEL+MAR has partnered with Integrity Wellness Brands, a leading North American adult beverage brand management services company representing innovative brands such as Bomani Coffee and Bravus non-alcoholic beer. Integrity Wellness Brands was founded by Nick Gagliardi, former COO of Monster Energy, who previously served as President of Artisan Beverage Brands, which managed some of the largest wine brands in the United States, including E. & J. Gallo , J. Lohr , and 19 Crimes, among many others. Through Integrity Wellness Brands, STEL+MAR is set to begin widespread distribution to major wine retailers across the United States
About STEL+MAR wines
STEL+MAR produces crowd-pleasing, award-winning wines designed to appeal to the under-40 cohort. The wine brand was built around four key principles: highly rated wines, attractive prices, a modern label that stands out and relevant social values. For more information on STEL+MAR, please visit www.stelandmar.com and follow @stelandmar on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.