Blog: Chris Brook-CarterWine Evolution - quote, unquote

Chris Brook-Carter | 31 January 2005

Day 1 of Wine Evolution is drawing to a close, and I thought it might make a refreshing change to list some of the best of the day’s quotes.

As I said earlier, a discussion on the UK business this morning was followed by a debate on branding and terroir. After lunch, three of the conference’s Asian contingent got their chance to talk about their markets. The day was rounded off by a presentation from the chief wine analyst at Rabobank, who talked about globalisation, and an interview with Christopher Carson, the head of Constellation Wines’ European operations.

“So many players still compete on price. A disproportionate amount of time is spent on trading consumers down rather than up. We lose sight of the true value of the product we are selling.”

“Don’t strip out the mystic.”
Mike Paul, managing director Europe of Western Wines-Vincor, talking about the UK market.
Mike went on to quote wine writer Andrew Jefford, who said: “If you have a problem getting people to play chess, you don’t simplify the rules and offer them draughts. You question your chess teaching methods.”
“We are in the last industry where we all live alone – the marketeer has to sell a product he or she has no control over. The winemaker makes a wine he or she thinks is the right one to sell, so often it is not.”

Bertrand Garrigues, CEO of Novozymes/Lamothe-Albeit, speaking about viticultural differences across the world.

“Is Foster’s Southcorp a good thing? Absolutely. It is aligned with the logic of the industry dynamic; it is an opportunity to face Constellation’s weight with an unassailable premium portfolio; there is a solid management at Southcorp but that company will struggle and be left behind by global forces without a major initiative; it keeps Southcorp in Australian hands and creates opportunities for smaller players.”

Paul Pacino, CEO Simon Gilbert Wines, talking about Foster’s Southcorp takeover bid.

"I would never tell a winemaker you have to produce this or that wine. The winemaker selects the best wine, I go out and find a consumer who will like that wine. Sometimes we don’t exploit our (the wine industry’s) richness, and, sometimes we view that richness as something negative.”

Patricia Inarrea, international marketing director still wine, Freixenet, speaking about Spanish opportunities.

"If China is complex, India has more obstacles to overcome. India is a much more controlled market than China. Distributors are ready to build brands but they are waiting for orders from higher up to see how the market will evolve. If I had limited reserves and if I were strictly just a businessman I would export to China first. If that doesn’t exhaust your patience, I would then try India, but only go for the on-trade.”

Ch’ng Poh Tiong, Editor of The Wine Review, Singapore, talking about exporting to Asia.

“The real prize is 30, 40 perhaps 50 years away – there will be a million case wine brand in China in that time.”

Brendan O’Toole managing partner, Summergate International, talking about importing into China.

“Distribution power is based on a full range of innovative brands, which requires strong financial power and knowledge of wine. Few companies have this. We have not yet seen the end of consolidation as companies try to build this model.”

Arend Heijbroek, senior analyst wine Robabank, speaking on globalisation and consolidation.

"I think if globalisation is the standardisation of wine, we don’t fit into that. We are not a global business, we are a multinational business that recognises the needs of different cultures.”

Christopher Carson, CEO Constellation Europe, speaking on globalisation and the potential loss of diversity.

“The pace of consolidation has been amazing and frankly I don’t see it slowing down. It will be interesting to see the Old World join in, they can benefit from maximising the efficiencies in the routes to market.”

Christopher Carson.


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