Does our wine lack value?

Wednesday, 29 / April / 2015

The areas of commercialization and distribution are where a great business opportunity is emerging... and shed this "good and cheap" identity that follows us.

According to the OEMV (Spanish Wine Market Observatory), Spain was the largest exporter of wine in the world and one of the 3 major producers in 2014, which clearly puts us at the lead of the wine-making worldwide by volume.

The statistics are not so encouraging when it comes to the average price per unit if we compare with the main producers, as, according to the same sources, we occupy 11th place at €1.16 per liter, far from France's €5.30 and Italy's €2.50, and lower than even New World producers.

We could understand this value and volume data being due in part to being a country with large quantities of bulk exports, these being of excellent quality, and which are later bottled in other countries and distributed by these, obtaining the added value that we don't obtain, a similar situation to what has historically happened with our olive oil. However, it would be wise to reflect on why wines bottled in some important denominations also suffer a decrease in value in their average unit price while the export numbers keep growing.

This general "undervaluing" situation fortunately does not affect all of our wines, and we have magnificent examples, but they are insufficient to counteract the surge of cheap wine volume that engulfs us. Although our value position may be considered "unfair" in the light of our wines' quality and their spectacular qualitative advances, perhaps the areas of commercialization and distribution are where a great business opportunity is emerging, which can contribute the value our wine deserves and shed this "good and cheap" identity that follows us.

Our comparative value with competitors should be considered a strategic business opportunity rather than a lament, if by doing a good diagnostic, we put ourselves to work on the fronts where marketing can reward us when determining a market strategy.

The balance between volume and value is a complex dilemma in which, especially with products with perceptions as subtle as is wine, everything is at stake. Consistency and knowing the consequences should make us reflect on the temptations of big volume and strong increases in production.

Now might be a good time, at the peak of the wave of production, to have, as is said in basketball, a time-out, and to analyze our next plays: cultural, social, communicative and legislative, with the goals of increased value perception in the market and, consequently, increasing final economic value.

If in life we value the function of our knowledge about things, it is the labor of marketing and communications to work these areas which support commercial management and the distribution of our wines, orienting this message toward the pursuit of that value.

When it forms an integral part of a strategic communication plan and the development of wine-making in said region, enotourism is a magnificent source of activity, and of high social and cultural content that can elevate the perceived image of a region and its wine. As such, it is a tool for communication and a key part in the contribution of added value to wine. By selecting quality alternatives that are boosted by the private and professional initiative of wineries, wine-making communities, and the denomination of origin councils, strong advances can be made in the wine sector's cultural orientation. We have to win the qualitative battle of knowledge and communication.

In this way, regarding the normative work of the legislator, in the councils, organizations and associations, updating in line with the needs of the market yet without losing its essence, and working to unite and make a cohesive message of quality and value, more so than volume. Like in marketing, always recommending market segmentation over separation.

And in the packaging, designing and differentiating the product, brand, and segment so as to convert the packaging into the communicator, into the silent messenger of our story, giving this final touch to the product in order to differentiate a normal sale from an unforgettable sale.

Wine has a hedonistic and cultural component, and thus in reference to the packaging we should value more than simply the economic aspect, or the aesthetic or functionality. By raising the decision-making bar on packaging, we will value interest in understanding what the client perceives upon weighing up the bottle, its label and the capsule material of the wine selected. Everything is a combination of small perceptions, of sensations that give way to pleasure and to memory; that give way for the wine to become an unforgettable experience for our client, increasing its value so that he returns to it in pursuit of the memory of this pleasure that was had with that Spanish wine...



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