Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Sud de France to invest more funds to drive distribution in independents and the on-trade

Published:  07 March, 2014

The Sud de France promotional body in the UK hopes to capitalise on the good 2013 vintage in the region to help build up distribution in independents and the on-trade during the rest of 2014.

It has confirmed to that it was not running its annual Sud De France consumer festival this year and was instead investing more money in working directly with the trade to drive sales in-stor, with independent merchants and in the on-trade.  

"We are doing more trade promotions this year to really help push the sales in the stores and in restaurants," said Sud de France's UK executive director, Isabelle Kanaan. 

She added: "We want to work on building the quality image rather than the volume side. The volume side can almost look after itself.  One of the things we learnt from running the independent wine merchant promotion last year with Harpers was that it is possible to sell a £45 bottle of Languedoc Roussillon wine in an independent when you could never do that in a supermarket.

"So our focus is much more with the independent and specialists like Majestic and the on-trade this year."

Sébastien du Boullay, UK promotions manager of Sud de France in the UK said it wanted "more independent merchants to embrace the Sud de France brand and promotion". "We think working closer with independents is a a good way to raise the profile and awareness of the region."

Kanaan believes the Languedoc Roussillon is well placed to benefit from what have been mixed harvests in some of France's other main wine regions. "2013 has been a very good vintage in Languedoc Roussillon. it is probably one of the best vintages from the region. We were able to get the best out of the summer."

As part of its promotional activity this year Sud de France will repeat its Top 100 initiative where leading UK wine figures, including wine critics, journalists, sommeliers and leading retail and trade buyers, and chaired by Tim Atkin MW, select the best hundred wines that represent wines from the Languedoc Roussillon.(Read a subscriber only special focus on the Top 100 here).

Sud de France will also be repeating an independent retail sales promotion in Harpers during October, November and December, where it invites merchants to stock wines selected from its list of Top 100 Sud de France wines and promote them in-store over a three week period.

Other plans for 2014 include bringing more producers over to the UK to meet members of the independent trade.

Kanaan hopes this will be mutually beneficial and give independents the chance to meet producers who they might be able to work directly with, bringing in the volume of wine that allows them to make the margins they are looking for.

It is also looking to organise, through Amazon Local, a series of consumer wine tasting experience nights with independent merchants at its head office in Cavendish Square in London. "It will be first time we have tried to do something like this and will be very intereting," said Kanaan.

As well as its annual trade tasting, to be held on June 11, it is going to host a separate press tasting for the first time to bring a real focus on the region with the media.

Sud de France will unveil the results of its 2014 Top 100 best wines from the region in a special area at the London Wine Fair in June. The programme now in its second year attracted over 500 entries last year and Sud de France expect at least the same again.

It is also looking to help promote new producers that have started making wine in the region in the last five years as part of its Newcomers initiative. This will involve a special tasting of up to 15 new producers later in the year.

It will also reflect, stressed Du Boullay,  the level of innovation and change taking place in the Languedoc Roussillon. "Every year there are new people coming in to the region. That is why it is such an interesting place and makes it so special."

Overall, he added, Sud de France wants to find effective ways in which it can work with partners in all areas of the trade from the big grocers, through to independent merchants and the on-trade.

* If you are an independent wine merchant and would like to take part in the independent wine merchant promotion being run by Harpers in the autumn then email