Comment - Wehring's Way - Wine Threesome: A Sign of the Times
There appears to have been a generally warm welcome to today's announcement of a wine tasting tie-up between three southern hemisphere generic bodies in the UK. With Argentina, Chile and South Africa pooling their resources into one event in London next year, wine buyers can look forward to two less tasting events in the country in 2013.
And, that's something that I know they will be delighted with.
The move is a consolidation of efforts for the UK units of Wines of Argentina, Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa, and I – for one – am getting a warm, tingly sensation from being able to write the words 'consolidation' and 'wine' in the same sentence.
In wine, some talk about the 80-20 rule – 80% of sales from 20% of the brands – while others talk about 90-10. Either way, the wine industry is ludicrously fragmented. The UK, one of the most developed yet competitive wine markets there is, has got tougher to operate in than many could predict in recent years.
This consolidation of efforts is, I hope, the shape of things to come when it comes to getting ahead in wine markets such as the UK. It might be a bit dramatic to suggest you collaborate or die, but it will certainly make things easier.
And cheaper, of course. Wine importers will only need to pay for one set of everything, and so will the three generic bodies. Mind you, for the producers, the cost will stay the same.
Whatever the underlying reason for the three countries running a single event, could this be a snapshot for the future of the wine industry?
One word of warning, however. Should such events grow to include more wine-producing nations, then trade exhibitions like the London International Wine Fair may start to feel a tad unloved.
Big, but not too big – how's that for a strapline?
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