Expensive red wines from France, Italy and Napa are commonplace but one of the latest high-priced wines comes from British Columbia. Mission Hill Family Estate Winery has announced the 2004 release of their Oculus wine, a high-end red modeled after fine Bordeaux wines. The Globe and Mail reports that the wine is listed at $70 but could go higher in the provinces. The wine is priced $10 more than the 2003 vintage and it is expected that the wine will hit $100 in 2010 right around the time that the world’s eyes turn to B.C. for the Vancouver Olympics. Oculus is just the most expensive of reds from wineries in the area.
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery has an interesting history, the owner Anthony von Mandl, is the man behind Mike’s Hard Lemonade. He used his alcopop cash to invest in the finest equipment for his winery such as $1,000 French-oak barrels, automated grape-sorting tables, stem-removing conveyors and computerized basket presses. Oculus is named for the circular hole at the top of Rome’s Pantheon and is a small amount of Mission Hill’s output - just 3,000 to 3,500 12-bottle cases depending on the year.
Need a place to store all your bottles of vino? Try ReadyMade’s quick wine rack project made out of cardboard mailing tubes. You can find these pretty cheaply at your favorite office supplies store; the fastest way to accomplish this project would be to plug the tubes into the bottom of a bookshelf - instant wine storage on the cheap.
By Wendy Boswell.
“I think, in general in the wine business, people don’t understand the need to build brands. That will become more and more of a problem among mid-sized wineries.” - David Higgens, Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide Wine Group President.
According to brand valuation consultancy Intangible Business, brands are playing an increasing role in a number of categories. In wine, the importance of country or origin and grape variety is diminishing in favour of brand. Laroche, for example is a classic old world French Chablis which is building a brand around its heritage.
Yellowtail is another good example. Yellowtail is a relatively basic wine but at a good price point and with a good brand image. Whether Yellowtail’s growth is sustainable will be the challenge for the Casella family. Maintaining its relevancy as people’s wine tastes develop will be instrumental in ensuring Yellowtail’s longevity.
You will know that your brand is winning in the marketplace when…
The brand is mentioned to customers and potential customers, and they brim with enthusiasm in their response.
Your brand’s external messages “ring true” with all employees.
Employees are enthusiastic and consistent in recounting what makes their brand special.
The brand’s market share is increasing.
Competitors always mention your brand as a point of reference.
The press can’t seem to write enough about your brand.
Your CEO has a strong vision for the organization and its brand. He or she talks more about the vision than financial targets.
Your organization’s leaders always seem to “talk the brand” and “walk the brand talk.”
Adapted from Winning Brands by Derrick Daye.
By Mike Carter.
Wine fraud has been in the news lately. First there was the story in the New Yorker on the infamous Jefferson wines then an article in Slate questioned just how big a problem wine fraud was. Now Decanter reports on a new solution for the problem of wine fraud.
A seal called Prooftag is being used by a few producers. The seal is a small strip that runs from a metal capsule onto the glass bottle. Once the seal is broken the capsule is destroyed. The seal has both a reference number and a plastic square with a unique pattern, both of which can be doublechecked on the web to assure the buyer they have bought the real thing.
As the article in Decanter mentions, the price per bottle is still a bit high (between €0.20-€1 per bottle) and may be putting some winemakers off but it is expected that as more people adopt the system the price will go down.
In the early 1970’s Phillip Kotler created the concept of the 4 P’s of Marketing, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. I have marketed and sold many products, and I have found the 4 P’s relevant with all of them. So what does this mean to the wine industry. Let’s look at them each individually….
Product - You need to have a realistic, objective view of the quality of your wine. How does it compare to your perceived competition? Does it reflect your wine making philosophy? Are you getting the most from the raw materials you have to work with?
Price - How does the price you are asking for your wine reflect the position you are looking for, and the quality of your wine? Under pricing wine is as bad as over pricing. As a baseline, there is a certain return you need from the wine relative to your investment. Does the end product justify that return? If priced to high, the wine will not sell, and you will have dead inventory to deal with. Is it priced too low? If you are selling out your offering quickly, think about raising your price.
Place - This refers to distribution. What are you doing to get the product in front of the consumer? Do you have distributors? are you making market visits to promote your wine? Do you have a good website, with a shopping cart? Are you managing your mailing list? Do you have a club? Have you tried to sell direct in the self distribution states? These are all elements of distribution.
Promotion - What can a small to medium sized winery do to promote their product? There are the obvious tactics, enter wine competitions, wine makers dinners, shelf talkers, etc. What about the not so obvious…Direct promotions, such as special offerings, to your club members. Creating unique bundled offers in your tasting room, or using your newsletter to educate the consumer.
Bottom line is that making great wine is rarely enough. You must be a marketer, and sticking to the basics, the 4 P’s, is a firm foundation to build on.