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Wine firms must be consumer-centric to win new generation of drinkers

Published:  22 July, 2014

Wine companies must have a "consumer-centric" approach to draw in and stay relevant to new generations of wine drinkers, says Rabobank.

Wine companies must have a "consumer-centric" approach to draw in and stay relevant to new generations of wine drinkers, says Rabobank..

The latest Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q3 report, says many wine companies have had greater success by developing contemporary brands rather than rehashing their existing portfolio.

What do consumers really think about wine?What do consumers really think about wine?Wine companies should try harder to engage and respond to consumers, says the latest Rabobank Wine Quarterly report.

"Rather than diluting well-established brands in a muddled attempt to be all things to all people, bold and progressive companies have developed contemporary brands with a fresh look-and-feel, aimed squarely at wine consumers looking to engage with the category in different ways. While still valuing quality and displaying a willingness to pay for it, these consumers often place less value on provenance and brand heritage and more on what the brand says about them and the occasions on which they consume it," states the report.

It cites good examples as Barefoot and Rex Goliath which have seen "astonishing growth" in recent years in contrast to older, more staid brands.

Constellation Brands recently announced an update of its Project Genome study, aimed at mapping out the preferences of the North American wine consumer. Finding out what makes consumers tick, and adapting their products to fit those needs, is helping many companies gain market share. Another example is OneHope, a top-selling wine on Amazon. Each of its varietals is linked to a charitable cause, to which it donates half of its profits.

The UK's own Naked Wines is also highlighted as a good example, for "capitalising on some other consumers' wishes to be more involved with smaller, independent vineyards" through its crowdfunding scheme.

E&J Gallo also responded to consumers' desire for sweeter wines with its Apothic brand - which has been roundly criticised by UK wine writers but appreciated by consumers.

As the dominance of the baby boomer generation wanes, "the need to adapt to the evolving global consumer landscape is becoming more pressing for global wine companies in hot pursuit of market share and pricing power", states the report. "To this end, it is becoming clear that a more attuned, bolder and progressive approach is necessary to win in an increasingly complex and dynamic global market landscape."

Harpers has been focusing on the importance of involving customers more in wine via our Get Engaged initiative.