Brands vs. Regions?

by Eve Resnick on March 13, 2008

in General

Last Friday, I spent the day listening to speakers from various countries about strategies to access the international markets. French specialists, such as Yves Benard, President of the INAO (Institute of the Controlled Appellations) or James de Roany, managing director of Chateau Beaulieu in Provence, the Italian Lorenzo Zonin, owner of the Zonin winery, the Spanish Juan-Maria Torres, CEO and co-owner of Torres winery, Adrian Keogh, Marketing Director for Europe of Pernod-Ricard and, last but not least the Australian Anthony Spawton shared their views on the subject.

Anthony Spawton is a wine marketing expert internationally recognized for his pioneer work in this field. He spoke about “Wine brand strategies: the new world experience” and was introduced by Peter Hayes, OIV Chairman. There is no difference between brands and regions, claims Anthony Spawton: brands and regions are the same. Why is that? A brand is “the encapsulation of the IP of a winery/region” and is also “the vehicle that will ensure its future earnings”.

To show his point, Tony drew an interesting table of the “salient features of Brand Relevance”:

Purchase Intent Criteria – Weekday Wines – Lifestyle – Luxury
Info search – Safe Brand /Grape – Position (niche) brand – Exclusive brand
Decision point – Price Point – Depends on occasion – Scarce, unique
Post purchase evaluation – Taste, consistency – Socially accepted – Complexity

This table shows that branding and marketing should be concerned with creatinf pleasurable consumer experiences (Schmitt, 1999). Which means you want to bring te consumer to the wine and not bring the wine to the consumer. To do so, the distribution chain is part of the supply chain: the wine is made available for sale and purchase by the consumer. The brand champions achieve a mainstream availability and accessibility.

Who are the regional heroes? It is the wines from somewhere and not from anywhere.

The best illustration of this principle during the conference was the new brand launched by James de Roany, Rosé de Provence. Rosé is the pink dry wine from Provence, the region where 80% of the wines produced are pink. As explained in Wine Brands, the idea was to brand a new category, Rosé (dry pink wine vs. sweet blush wines) and a region, Provence, its birth place and “terroir”. James’ idea was to capitalize on a “terroir” to raise the value of its consumers’ territory – to reach the young people and the women, sophisticated consumers of a brand with an history. The region carries the history while the category expresses the trend.

Conclusion: brand vs. region? No, the region is the brand.


1 Robert McIntosh March 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Interesting question which I once tried to explore but need to revisit. I started from the basis that varietal labelling was a threat and came to similar conclusions.

Some of the thread can be visited here:

2 Tom Christoffel March 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm

A link to this post will be in the March 19, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line March 20 at Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom

3 Evelyne Resnick March 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Hello, Robert

Thanks for your comment. Indeed this issue is very controversial. During the conference I attended, there were many contradictory views and opinions. I don’t mean to hold the final truth but having one foot in Europe and one in the US, I’m always complaining about the fact no varietals are mentioned on European labels and very often no origins are mentioned on new world labels. My dream? Varietal AND region on the label. But is it a guarantee of quality?

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