I just read the paper of Joe Ray on “Wines: Is”made in France” enough?” for brandchannel.com. It started me thinking about wine brands in relation to quality – which seems to be the basic rule, according to Ray, for becoming a French wine brand. It happened I just had dinner in a very traditional French restaurant in Paris and was served 4 rather unknown but outstanding French wines – the 5th one, Château Simone, being world-famous. Let’s name my hidden gems: Champagne Philippe Gonet NV, 2007 Château de Beaupré – a white wine from Provence, 1996 Château Laplagnotte-Bellevue, a red Grand Cru from Saint-Emilion and a Beaumes de Venise from Domaine de la Pigeade.
Those wines were wonderful and we all did enjoy them tremendously. Back to my office, I searched for their web sites: Champagne P. Gonet has a wonderful site in French and a very ugly one in English. Beaupré doesn’t have a web site at all: worse, the keywords “château de Beaupré Provence” brought me to a wonderful B&B in Provence and I almost forgot my initial search. Laplagnotte-Bellevue and Domaine de la Pigeade have decent French web sites but not available in any foreign languages. Still searching for information, I found some tasting notes of on line wine stores in France but nothing in English and no information on the wines.
I do agree quality is important for a wine brand. It is even a prerequisite but it’s not enough to “brand” your name in the customer’s mind. How does a potential consumer get in touch with those wonderful wineries? How does the winery inform its customers of its new releases or news? What is the communication strategy being the brand building of those wines? I don’t know and I care. They are worth more exposure. They have to sell the typicity of their terroir but also a story and a very unique taste. They have a story to tell and they should be heard.