Blog: Olly WehringWine Evolution, Paris - Day One

Olly Wehring | 29 January 2007

Greetings from day one of the Wine Evolution conference here in Paris. It’s been a lively opening day, with retailers and wine makers already clashing heads.

Here, as is our wont, is a round-up of the raging battles around us, in quote form.

“The retailer is dumbing down the wine industry in Europe – they may say they care a lot about quality, but everything is all about price.” Vic Motto – Global Wine Partners

“The consumer has the perception that under EUR3 (US$3.88) they can buy quality wine. That’s a huge challenge… How can the brand-builders convince consumers to pay EUR5 when they have the perception they can buy good wine for EUR3?” Arend Heijbroek – Rabobank

“As winemakers, we fall in love with everything we do, but we don’t listen to the consumer. We have to respect that our wine quality has improved, that’s why competition is so fierce in the lower-price category.” Marion Kopp – Racke International

“I have an issue with retailers who don’t respect that the wine category can be highly profitable – looking for an extra cent off isn’t necessary for retailers who already have good margins.” Marion Kopp – Racke International

“In the UK, we as multiple retailers are known for the focus we put on quality. Yes, price is important, it’s part of the mix. I use the term value-for-money. Consumers are not stupid – they are not going to buy rubbish.” Angela Mount – Somerfield

“What the wine industry has got to do is invest in the consumer -find out who it is you should be selling your product to.” Christopher Carson - Constellation Europe and WSTA

“The bottom of the industry is falling apart – no-one wants commodity products, they want aspirational products.” Vic Motto – Global Wine Partners

“I want to make the bureaucracy work for the winemaker rather than the winemaker work for the bureaucracy… You cannot do everything in Paris – you must give more of the decision-making process to the wine-making regions.” Yves Bénard – LVMH

“The aims of the new EU policy are the same as the aims of the new policy introduced in 1999, and they failed. Does that mean that we have another eight-year cycle to look forward to?” Arend Heijbroek – Rabobank

“The old wine industry is your father’s wine, the new wine industry is your daughter’s wine.” Vic Motto – Global Wine Partners

“At the moment any packaging changes are being driven by economical rather than environmental concerns. The main impetus for change will come from the consumer. The public is being scared out of its wits by talk of climate change.” Adam Lechmere - Decanter

Here’s hoping tomorrow is as colourful – we’ll keep you posted.


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