7-Eleven's 'Soul of the Vine'

Expands wine list in California, Oregon, Washington, Florida with VitAlma Pinot Grigio

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. this month is introducing VitAlma, the convenience retailer's first proprietary pinot grigio wine, only in its California, Oregon, Washington and Florida stores. The imported Italian wine retails for $7.99 per bottle.

Produced and bottled in the Lombardy region in Northern Italy for 7-Eleven stores, VitAlma means "soul of the vine" in Italian. Like its popularly priced Cherrywood Cellars wines, the retailer created the fresh, crisp white wine to appeal to legal-aged millennial wine-drinkers.

Pinot grigio, one of the most popular imported wines [image-nocss] in the U.S. and fastest-growing varietals, has been called the "it" wine for the 2011 summer (by American sommelier and chef Jamie Gwen). Its versatile, refreshing taste and easy drinkability has made it popular among entry-level wine-drinkers, particularly millennial women. With its light body, the Italian pinot grigio can be enjoyed with or without food.

VitAlma is the first proprietary wine 7-Eleven has sourced from Italy. Its other private-brand wines--Cherrywood Cellars, Sonoma Crest and Yosemite Road--are all produced in California and selling well.

"7-Eleven offers great wine values with chardonnays, merlots and cabernets, all priced below $10 per bottle," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. "Pinot grigio was a niche we needed to fill in our wine assortment, and Italy is recognized as the world's number-one producer of pinot grigio varietals. Because of its quality and value, we think we have another winner with VitAlma."

The company invited vintners to submit their juice for tasting. Two rounds of tasting events were held, narrowing from six to three and ultimately the winner. VitAlma was scored on six attributes including clarity, bouquet, flavor and crispness.

The new pinot grigio will be displayed in a special "Summer Wine Makes Me Feel Fine" section at participating stores. The decision to limit introduction to four states was based on wine sales and proximity to ports of entry.

7-Eleven debuted its own wines in late 2009 and expanded the line in late 2010. (Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,400 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 40,900 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $63 billion.