The importance of standing out with simple, distinctive features in the wine market
Can you tell the difference between the two groups of bottles below at this level of detail?
If you don’t know, the answer is in the bottom of this text – but I invite you to look back here when you finish reading.
When speaking of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), can we assume that wine is the most complex category of them all? Arguably yes. It typically occupies the largest shelf proportion in supermarkets and the largest drinks list proportion in restaurants. Its natural complexity comes in the form of thousands of varietals and infinite possibilities of blending. Then there’s different regions and countries of origin as well as colour, production method, flavours, alcohol degree, age, oak, packaging, price, etc. The list goes on and on. Many of us have probably felt slightly lost or even awkward at one time or another in that moment when it’s time to choose a wine.
At ProWein 2018 alone, Wine Intelligence estimated that there were more than 150,000 unique wines on display. And all had relevant arguments to be there. But when we ask consumers to name wine brands unprompted in our Vinitrac® surveys, the average American regular wine drinker can only remember four.
So, when you are small, as most of producers are, how do you survive against all the competition? The answer to this question is highly subjective and depends on circumstantial factors. But, if we are speaking about producers within a wine region, the last decade of wine business has showed us that there is nothing more powerful than a large group of small producers making the best out of their region, consistently. And I guess the most important word here is ‘consistently’, in terms of liquid but also in terms of packaging.
I can’t remember how many times I have heard producers around the world describing the main benefits of their own region of origin as being ‘diverse in terms of possible wine styles we can produce’. This is great from the oenology perspective, but from a market point of view, when you are small, stories of diversity have never worked very well as there is nothing concrete to memorize, but many different things instead. The international trade, and consumers in general, want to know about you, but they don’t want it to be too complicated. They will favour simpler stories. They will particularly like when the story is about the uniqueness of region rather than a producer. They will love to see a group of producers within a region working consistency, year on year, around a unique wine style.
In the past decade, three particular regions understood the importance of consistency and of being unique and did a great job in the way they presented themselves in the markets with one unique and distinctive style, produced by many producers and even with distinctive packaging: Provence, Marlborough and Prosecco. I challenge you to try to understand what are the key elements that make these wines being definitely part of their regions.
So the group of images on the left are distinctly Prosecco, as their bottle shape has come to specify sparkling wine from this region. This one distinction makes their bottles easy to stand out in the crowd of thousands of bottles on the shelf.
Author: Luis Osorio