The Wine Group has created a division to focus on the so-called Millenial group of wine consumers.

The management-owned company, which is based in San Francisco, said on Friday (14 July) that it has formed Underdog Wine Merchants to craft, market and sell premium wines to the Millennial consumer group of young adults.

Underdog Wine Merchants will be an autonomous organisation within the company. The brand portfolio includes what TWG has termed 'millennial' brands such as Pinot Evil from France, Killer Juice from the Central Coast, Silverbirch from New Zealand and Devil's Marbles from Australia.

Fritz Lance, who has spent 20 years working for E&J Gallo, has been named president of the unit, while Adam Richardson will be the international winemaker. Richardson has been the estate winemaker at TWG's Concannon Vineyard in California for the past three harvests and will continue in that role.

Craig Calders and Wes Alexander have been named directors of western and eastern sales, respectively. Calders was most recently regional sales manager at Wine Warehouse and Alexander was division manager at Paterno Imports. Suzannah Saidy, whose recent experience includes roles as buyer at Williams-Sonoma and product manager at GAP, Inc., has been named marketing director.

"Underdog Wine Merchants is an extension of our market strategy of producing high-quality affordable wines which are available wherever the consumer chooses to purchase wine," said TWG's CEO, David Kent.

The Wine Group was founded in 1981 by a management buy-out of the wine assets of The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, and is the world's third-largest wine producer by volume.