A New French Wine Brand in the US

by Eve Resnick on November 15, 2010

in International Markets

After the unfortunate recent failure of Chamarré it seems very brave to launch a new French brand on the US market.  The press release bears the rather off putting title : “300 Year Old French Winery Brings Prestigious Wine Appellations Into The 21st Century”.

The 300 Year Old French Winery is Arnoux et Fils, family-owned and operated in Vacqueyras, in the Rhone Valley. The prestigious wine appellations are Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The brands are called “Gig” for Gigondas, “Vac” for Vacqueyras and the “Chat9” for Chateauneuf du Pape (9 is said “neuf” in French). The range also includes some “rosés” from Côtes de Rhône. All those brands are under the umbrella of “THE-Vins” (the wines).

The launch of this new brand is based on a study conducted by Sopexa, stating that “72% of respondents held a very positive image of French wines, and 81% agreed that French wines are typically reserved for special occasions. French wines have the image of being consumed less frequently, being more complex to understand and to taste, and commanding a higher price.” THE-Vins are the answer to the shyness of young American consumers towards French wines. The packaging is supposed to break “the mold of conventional French labels, while respecting and promoting the longevity of prestigious French appellations that are currently unfamiliar to a broader range of tomorrow’s consumers”, according to the press release.

The new brand is promoted through a traditional web site 100% Flash and 100% annoying when trying to get information. My questions to young American consumers are : do you know Vacqueyras? Do you know Gigondas? Do you know Chateauneuf-du-Pape? Next questions : when seeing those bottles displayed on a supermarket shelf, will you be enticed to buy them because they’re eye-catching?Are you sure you’ll enjoy them because of their labels?

My questions to THE Vins are: What is the price point? Where are your wines going to be available? Why release several brands like Vac, Gig, under THE Vins? Why not launch THE Vins brand by itself? Why dilute the brand by too many sub-brands? Why no social media presence if targeting the young American consumer?

So many questions, so few answers. The American young consumer is the favorite target of a lot of wine brands.  Just have a look at the perfect strategy of HobNob wines launched by veteran Bill Deutsch. The consumer is involved in the strategy. He is the center of the strategy. When will Europeans understand that they have to engage with the consumer if they want to succeed? I wish the best of luck to THE-Vins.


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