The pandemic has revealed the limitations of distribution strategies for many companies, including those in the wine industry. Companies that relied heavily on a single channel, such as the gastronomy sector affected by lockdowns, quickly found themselves without orders. The lesson learned was to diversify, spread risk, and establish a more crisis-resistant position.
This realization applies not only to companies but also to entire wine regions, as seen in Bordeaux. Each growing area has its own production conditions and constraints. However, these conditions and traditions can change, especially with the rapidly changing climate. It is important for all wine producers, including those who value tradition, to regularly assess the conditions under which they produce and sell their wine.
The mentality of "We've always done it this way" is as detrimental as saying "We've never done it this way before" when it comes to innovation and change. Bordeaux seemed to cling to long-established practices, relying on the perceived certainty of sales. The allure of prestige, nobility, luxury, and history associated with Bordeaux was diminished. Leading wineries may not be greatly affected, but those at the lower end of the market are struggling with unsold tannic red wines. Ultimately, the burden falls on not only French taxpayers, but also millions of EU funds allocated for crisis distillation and clearing assistance.
Bordeaux is demonstrating impressive determination and dynamism in tackling the sales problem from various angles, involving associations, winegrowers, and Châteaux.
It is necessary to identify the causes of the problem, but the overall outlook is positive. Bordeaux is demonstrating impressive determination and dynamism in tackling the sales problem from various angles, involving associations, winegrowers, and Châteaux.
However, it is important not to make the same mistake again by relying solely on one approach that may eventually lose its effectiveness. The recent strong emphasis on organic wines suggests this. However, for many retailers and consumers, organic labeling has become standard and no longer inspires enthusiasm.
Adapting to the change
Upon closer examination, it is clear that Bordeaux is willing to embrace a significant diversification. This goes beyond exploring new styles of red wine and marketing strategies; it also involves giving attention to other wine colors and types. The current success of the focus on Crémant is a prime example. The concept of creating a unique selling point with Rosé-Crémant à la Bordelaise is a clever move. However, it is crucial to not disregard one's own origins and transform Bordeaux into something like Primitivo, as it could undermine the region's hard-earned reputation.
it is crucial to not disregard one's own origins and transform Bordeaux into something like Primitivo, as it could undermine the region's hard-earned reputation.
Ultimately, the current crisis in the region presents a genuine opportunity. By drawing more attention to the good and very good qualities in the lower and middle price segments, creating new profiles, showcasing greater diversity, and moving Bordeaux away from being solely associated with expensive and tannic wines in the eyes of consumers, everyone stands to benefit equally. Producers can once again sell their products at acceptable prices, while consumers have access to a wider range of appealing options.