Beaujolais producers are facing a big problem: the name “Beaujolais” is associated with “plonk” and “Beaujolais Nouveau”, this industrial wine celebrated every year at the end of November – thanks to the talent of Georges Duboeuf. The rise of the Beaujolais Nouveau brand is the fall of the Beaujolais wines.
Beaujolais is a beautiful area located between Burgundy and the Rhone. A few high end producers are making beautiful wines from the Gamay grape and are suffering from a very poor image. “Our problem is that we have 10 quality vintages which are unheard of. We are the only appellation in the world known for plonk and not for its top quality,” said Jean Bourjade, president of the local trade body, to Catherine Lagrange from Reuters. “We have the image of an industrial wine, but actually it’s the other way round, everything is made by hand here.”
It is sometimes the problem when you brand a region instead of a name. Champagne had a similar problem at some point: the name was so well known that small high-end producers had sometimes a problem to get their name in front of the consumers while “plonk” champagne was selling. Fortunately some brands were famous enough to give a positive image to the area. But what about high quality but confidential brands such as Philiponnat? Now that Champagne equals quality, it is harder for smaller brands to get their market shares. They have to differentiate themselves by either an even better quality or a smarter strategy. Which is not obvious: it’s not enough anymore to hire a trendy designer to package your bottle in a luxurious or original way. All brands have special packaging at indecent price: who cares about some diamonds on a bottle when you’re only interested by what is IN the bottle? The wine is what makes the bottle precious!
Champagne and Beaujolais could be brand killers if producers don’t pay attention: high-end Beaujolais producers decided to fight back by promoting their wines in a new marketing campaign. Good luck to them!