Friday, January 07, 2005

Bordeaux shipments to U.S. down by a third

Good God, down by a third! How/when are they going to stop the bleeding?


Blogger VineSugar said...

Now there is a region that could use some help in the marketing arena. With all the new and YOUNG wine drinkers popping up, I can tell you that black and white images of chateaus and vineyards and not going to attract them. Though the reality is they will never "stoop" to those measures... I can't wait to see how this plays out inthe coming years.

January 07, 2005 11:50 AM  
Blogger Meyatch said...

The sad thing is that they seem to have forgotten their own history. Despite their self-important image of themselves, the Bordeaux winemakers became the best known in the world because of marketing savy. Their main market during their glory days was England and the English liked Bordeaux because they knew it - they occupied the area for three centuries and never stopped sending the wine home. And the Bordelais knew how to market their product for English consumers.

The chateaux owners need to stop debating altering the AOC rules every year, and just figure out a way to market to the modern audience. They don't have to start churning out Yellow Tail. But they need to convince world consumers that Bordeaux isn't stuffy and intimidating. It's just a damn good Cab-Merlot blend.

January 08, 2005 7:09 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Meyatch, thanks for the comments. To an extent, I disagree over the yellow tail comment however. What makes YT such a huge phenomenon is that its got *great branding* and that is the key thing the French wines lack. They're sold by the Chateau, not by a brand. In the US and the UK, consumers are buying branded wines. The only successful brands to come out of France have been Fat Bastard and Red Bicyclette, both started by US companies (Click Imports and Gallo). The French need to look to branding to solve some (certainly not all!) of their problems.


January 08, 2005 7:53 PM  
Blogger Meyatch said...

Thanks for replying Huge. Always love reading your posts.

I completely agree with you that the key to YT's success is branding. The Chateaux don't have a brand. What they do have is a pompous, intimidating image that tells the average 28-year-old, 'Step away youngster and go buy yourself some Smirnoff Ice instead." Those goofy-ass silhouette ads they've been putting on the back of Wine Spectator don't help.

What I meant by my comment is that I don't think winemakers have to necessarily compromise on taste to sell. Fat Bastard's pretty good and Red Bicyclette's relatively inoffensive (unlike Gallo's Italian operation Ecco Domani - Ughhh). But I think the Aussies have gone overboard with the fruit forward, big alcohol wines. Wine can be friendly and approachable, yet still have depth. Good branding and effective marketing doesn't mean you have to throw oak chips in your fermenting tank and throw your wine in the vacuum concentrator. At least I hope not ...

January 14, 2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Well, whatever the Aussies are doing its working. Hopefully the French can learn from FB and RB and develop some branding of their own, particularly at the lower end of the price spectrum. Time will tell.

Thanks for posting.


January 17, 2005 8:45 AM  

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