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Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône chases global consumer with flavour shift - Focus - ProWein 2019

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For an indication of how global wine consumer tastes have changed in the past few years, take a look at the new portfolio from Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône.

Union des Vignerons has launched new ranges, including Cellier des Dauphins Reserve Cotes Du Rhone

Union des Vignerons has launched new ranges, including Cellier des Dauphins Reserve Cotes Du Rhone

The company, a collective of wineries that together make up one of Côtes du Rhône's biggest producers, has spent the past four years quietly working on a project to overhaul the flavour profile of its main brand, Cellier des Dauphins. The result, on show at this week's ProWein trade show in Dusseldorf, is fruitier, fuller and more rounded than before - and designed to appeal to wine's next frontier, the new wave of global urban professionals, especially those in Asia.

According to Cellier des Dauphins marketing director James Fuselier, the change to the flavour profile is about "connecting our wines with market trends".

"The offer we have today makes sense in many markets," he explains.

Fuselier, a veteran alcohol marketer who cut his teeth outside of the wine industry with beer group Scottish & Newcastle, says Union des Vignerons is one of the few French wine producers chasing a consumer-driven strategy. He believes that a global approach can be taken because, as he puts it, "guys in Seattle, or London or Shanghai" share more in common with each other than, say, French consumers.

"Not everyone in the wine industry would say that," he admits. "But, coming from another industry, I see that there is definitely a convergence."

Four new ranges for Cellier des Dauphins have been released at this week's ProWein - Les Crus, Origine Bio, Reserve Cotes Du Rhone and Villages, the latter a producer-led range that targets trends for authenticity by putting a photo of the winemaker behind the product on the front of the bottle.

To support the launches, and the brand's existing ranges, Union des Vignerons is launching the first international Cellier des Dauphins advertising campaign. Fuselier says the ads are designed to play across all markets.

"It is right for us to have a consistent message and strategy and product innovation across the globe," he says. "It makes much more sense."

With the ads, Union des Vignerons is casting appreciative eyes at the potential in China. France still accounts for half of the company's volumes, but growth winds are blowing east.

"In China, the numbers are impressive," Fuselier says, pointing to double-digit growth. Within the next two years, Fuselier expects China to jump into the top three of Union des Vignerons' export markets from its current top five spot. 

"The Rhône valley came later to China than Bordeaux, but Bordeaux is starting to be a little bit everywhere, and we come with a simpler proposition," he says.

This is where Union des Vignerons is hoping to reap the benefits of its flavour shift. Demand in China, especially with younger drinkers, is for fruitier wines.

"The wine profile fits with the tastes," Fuselier says.

Treasury Wine Estates to keep European bulk wine bottling in UK - ProWein 2019


Sectors: Wine

Companies: Treasury Wine Estates

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