Merchandising wine according to style rather country and treating lower alcohol wines as mainstream wines were two of the recommendations that emerged at the recent Wine & Spirit Trade Association meeting in London.
Although the forum was primarily focused on lower alcohol wine, it was the comment on merchandising by Dan Jago, a category director at Tesco, that struck me most.
“The more I see the way people behave around [buying] wines, I think we’re getting close to the point where we should be merchandising by style rather than by country. “It would be easier if we did this [merchandising] as, this is light and refreshing, this is big and rich. We must be brave and take a large step rather than doing it by small steps and not taking any risks,” The Drinks Business quoted Jago as saying.
Merchandising by style rather country would certainly help the better wines who are struggling to get sufficient shelf space because the country category is not that strong.
Regarding lower alcohol levels, there was general agreement that lower alcohol wines should be treated as mainstream products rather placed on the side in a special category which made them seem like inferior wines.
While there was agreement to treat low alcohol wines as mainstream there was debate about what constituted a lower alcohol wine.