Nowadays, in wine marketing to the consumer, we often include experience in the conversation and focus much less on product. Experience is the trend all brands have to comply with, the so-called 5th P of Marketing. But is there anyone left who talk about wine just because of the wine?
Wine writers, sommeliers, winemakers, those of us who are in the trade. Yes, for those with a passion for wine, wine appreciation is about more than the sunset with a loved-one or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with a goat’s cheese soufflé. We like wine for wine. “If you’re in doubt whether the food and wine will match, leave the food and drink the wine”, a joking, but on point remark by La Motte Cellarmaster, Edmund Terblanche.
When the wine talk is serious, we usually refer to terroir, time spent on the lees, barrel maturation and concepts generally intimidating to the average wine consumer. But perhaps, when it comes to the consumer, there is a product focus that is still relevant, even though it is less technical.
On our way to the annual Prowein show in Düsseldorf, I read Peter Eichhorn’s article, Day drinking and the new aperitif culture. In this piece he discusses the interesting origin of the aperitif and the ongoing trend for enjoying a drink before dinner or during the day, not only as part of a meal.
Wine has done very well to position itself as the drink of choice when it comes to mealtimes, but when it comes to pre-drinks or day drinks the competition from gin, cocktails and beer is rife. To enjoy a glass of wine without occasion, experience or food, gives you the opportunity to enjoy the wine for its inherent qualities. Here we have product focus that is based on enjoyment rather than technicality or perceived quality.
In some way, I see this resonate with the trend for exclusion – low alcohol or even no-alcohol products. It makes sense for the trend of day-drinking and low-alcohol to go together. While the debate is on about whether a good glass of wine can actually be a no-alcohol or de-alcoholised wine, the opportunity for such a product is clear.
While no-alcohol options of traditional alcoholic drinks are widely available, low-alcohol or de-alcoholised wine has always been a challenge to get just right. Alcohol contributes a certain warmth and depth that low or no-alcohol wines have to try and recreate with some amount of sweetness, often with less success.
While the 2019 Prowein ‘Same but Different‘ theme is based on craft spirits, beers and ciders, I think one can also group the low- and no-alcohol wines in this category and I look forward to explore what the world of wine is doing at the moment to embrace the latest trends.