Millennials are vital to Champagne’s future  

“Millennials are vital to Champagne’s future… because they are willing to look beyond the ‘just for celebrations’ mantra,” states Françoise Peretti, Director of the UK’s Champagne Information Bureau.

Millennials are deemed to be more digitally connected and open-minded than baby boomers.

Peretti further stressed the need to attract a younger generation of drinkers, and the potential demand among “open-minded” millennials.

“Unlike the Baby Boomers, they are open-minded consumers, willing to look beyond the ‘just for celebrations’ mantra,” she said of the age group, which covers those people from their early 20s to late 30s.

“This is their most important attribute: a desire to embrace the idea that Champagne can be a drink for the weekend, not simply New Year.”

Mentzendorff’s Andrew Hawes, who is the current chairman of the Champagne Agents Association believes that grower Champagnes are the key to unlocking the millennial market.

Hawes states “A quiet revolution has been building in the independent sector over the past few years.”  He further adds, “Independents are selling more and more grower Champagne to millennials – they are naturally drawn to the ‘craft’ credentials of smaller brands.”

In the US, Chicago-based sommelier Zach Jones recorded a similar development, and he goes on to say,  “Grower Champagne has had a huge surge in popularity with younger drinkers in the US, because there is a great story to tell and it gives younger consumers the sense that they are supporting a small family winery, not a massive machine.”

Sources:
Drinks Ontario
Champagne Information Bureau – UK

Wines of Argentina appoints Maximiliano Hernández Toso as new president

The Wines of Argentina has recently appointed Maximiliano Hernández Toso as its new president for the next two-year period.

Toso will serve a two-year term as president, supported by Guillermo Barzi, who will continue as acting vice president of the institution.

Tosco was appointed during an Ordinary General Assembly of Wines of Argentina yesterday, held over videoconference.

Hernández Toso is the co-founder and director of WHT Partners, an Argentine venture group that invests in high-end wine and owns Riglos and Huarpe wineries. He has been on Wines of Argentina’s board of directors since 2015, and previously occupying the role of treasurer.

He has an MBA from IDEA and the London Business School and a Master’s in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied as a Fulbright fellow. Toso has also taught and directed the wine management programme at ADEN Business School and has also spent time working as a private and independent consultant to entrepreneurs, investors and multi-lateral organizations.

Commenting on his new role, Hernández Toso said: “It is a privilege for me to lead this institution, which I respect and admire for the great work it has done since its inception. We have many challenges ahead, but also great opportunities to innovate and continue bringing Vino Argentino closer to the world and raising the perception of Argentina as a modern winemaking country thanks to the enormous wealth and diversity of our terroirs.”

Vice president Guillermo Barzi, added: “Over the years, Argentina has shown that it is capable of surprising and competing internationally with great wines of the world. The goal is challenging, but we will keep the focus on collaboration agreements and education as a way to reach new audiences.”

Wines of Argentina website:  https://www.winesofargentina.org/en

US Drinkers Have Increased Wine Consumption During Lockdown

America’s 77 million regular wine drinkers upped their frequency of wine consumption during the pandemic lockdown, despite the closure of many on-premise establishments, according to new consumer research out this week.

The new Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 monthly US wine drinkers during March and April 2020 to understand how their wine drinking behavior was changing as a result of the restrictions due to the coronavirus. The findings paint a picture of a nation finding new occasions for wine drinking – at lunchtime, or catching up with friends online, or replacing the trip to the restaurant with a more indulgent evening meal.

The growing volume of wine purchased was tempered by a small decline in the average price per bottle paid overall, according to the research. However, within this average were significant variations by consumer type. More involved and committed wine drinkers, who mainly spend between $15 and $20 per bottle normally, tended to spend a bit more than usual, while less frequent wine drinkers tended to spend a bit less.

There was significant growth in online shopping across all age groups, with the most likely users of online channels being younger, urban, affluent consumers. This same demographic, who in normal times are more likely to drink wine in social settings such as bars and restaurants, also tended to spend more on take-home purchases.

While the majority of respondents said the origin of wine they bought during this period stayed the same, there was a notable shift in purchase preferences towards domestic wines and away from imports. Some 18% of respondents reported buying more wine from California and other US regions during this time, while 20% said they were buying less wine from France, Italy and Spain. Additionally, US wine drinkers increased their trust in California wines and conversely, lost trust most among old world wines, particularly those from Italy.

Looking to the future, US wine drinkers, on the whole, expressed caution about going out to bars and restaurants immediately after lockdown restrictions were ended – around 40% said they would be less likely to visit a restaurant, while 27% said they would be more likely.

Analysis of this data suggests there is a distinct attitudinal contrast at work among consumers. At one extreme is an optimistic and active group who have made minimal changes to their lifestyle and are less nervous about returning to the on-premise – they tend to be younger, more affluent and city-based, and comprise about 17% of monthly wine drinkers. At the other extreme, 20% of monthly wine drinkers have reacted strongly to the lockdown, and have significantly cut down on spending and wine consumption, and are very reluctant to return to an active social life.

The Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report will be published on the 6th of May 2020. It includes latest insights pre, during and predicted post-COVID-19 restrictions, including beverage repertoire, wine buying and consumption behaviors, brand health and lifestyle behavior changes.

Commenting on the report, Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead said: “Our data supports other evidence that shows that US wine drinking is holding up and that sales will continue to be solid once lockdown ends. In fact, there are clear opportunities with certain consumer segments right now and also in the medium term as we move to post-lockdown behavior. Looking ahead, the US wine drinker is understandably quite cautious about their household finances and the idea of getting on a plane. Thankfully for the wine category, their intention seems to be replacing big treats like vacations and big events with small treats like a nicer bottle of wine.”

Source:  Wine Intelligence

Vinexpo New York is hosting a free webinar “The Evolving Landscape of the (US) Wine & Spirits Industry”

Despite the challenges the past few weeks have presented, many wineries have successfully shifted their strategies and modified their businesses. They’re not only supporting their staff and customers, but also those on the front lines while keeping business moving.

Attend this free webinar, where you will hear from industry members across the three-tier system and learn what changes they have made, how they continue to adapt and what they expect in the coming weeks.

“The Evolving Landscape of the Wine & Spirits Industry” webinar will take place on Tuesday 5 May at 11:00 am EST.

Among several speakers will be Michael Baum, CEO & Propriétaire, Château de Pommard, Scott Zoccolillo, sommelier and wine director at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Philadelphia, and Margie A.S. Lehrman, who is chief executive officer of the American Craft Spirits Association.

Register here https://www.vinexponewyork.com/webinars/the-evolving-landscape-of-the-wine-spirits-industry/

WineAmerica discloses how wineries are being “creative” in the face of adversity

The average US winery lost US$51,201 from March 15 to April 15 and expects to lose a further $134,626 in May, due to the latest survey by industry association WineAmerica.

There is some cause for optimism.

Having released bleak figures back in March, the industry association has said the results of its second survey has brought in some more “uplifting” findings.

Last month, WineAmerica revealed that US wineries lost a total of US$40,439,764 in March due to Covid-19, but warned that the figure could be far greater as only 10% of the nation’s wineries responded to the information request.

In its second survey, the industry association found that the average winery lost $51,201 between March 15 and April 15 and expects to lose $134,626 in May if the current situation continues through to the end of the month. Wineries estimate that it will take an average of four months to return to normal business levels.

This survey was returned by 727 wineries in 45 states, a smaller survey sample than the first.

It revealed that wineries have resorted to ingenuity in order to bring in money. The most popular new strategy was offering curbside pickups, with 84% of those surveyed saying they had done this. 63% said they had reduced shipping costs, 60% had offered special promotions, 54% had carried out local home deliveries, and 53% said they’d put out ‘wine club specials’.

28% revealed they had engaged in the growing trend of virtual wine tastings. Just 5% of those surveyed said they hadn’t tried any of these initiatives.

WineAmerica stated that it was “highly likely” that the marketing experience and willingness to adapt will “serve the industry for years to come”.

15% of those surveyed said they had been forced to stop production, however, 62% said that production speed had been reduced due to Covid-19.

Due to the global pandemic, the average American winery had to lay off five members of staff, although a quarter of those surveyed said they didn’t make any job cuts.

As expected, wine tourism has taken a huge hit. The average winery in America has 17,644 annual visitors, with 1,482 expected during the 15 March to 15 April period. Due to coronavirus, visitor numbers were down by an average of 90.5% and tasting room sales fell by 74.5%. However, direct-to-consumer (DtC) sales increased by 8%, with many wineries reporting sales rising by double or triple digits.

WineAmerica president Jim Trezise said that wineries and tourism “have a symbiotic relationship” and described visitors as being “the lifeblood of the industry”.

He said that marketing innovations “have mitigated losses due to closed tasting rooms, but not entirely”.

As some states start to lift lockdown measures, Trezise says WineAmerica is working to develop “best practices for tasting rooms” that will both protect the safety of visitors and employees.

https://wineamerica.org/