The wine industry faces a significant challenge. Players must not only compete against each other, but they also have to contend with increasing competition from alternative alcoholic beverage segments like beer and spirits. These sectors are getting very creative with their marketing.
To compete more effectively, wine industry participants must rejuvenate their perspectives and band together on consumer education and communication.
Wine education has traditionally been in the form of product and wine region promotion. While this is important from a micro perspective, it restricts the consumer from understanding wine from a macro point of view. This in turn has a limiting factor for the consumer. The broader approach of wine education would equally expand and increase the awareness of the wine consumer’s desire to learn more and taste more wine.
Sadly, this is exemplified in many full-service restaurants, where staff are supposed to get real wine training from their Sommelier. But often it’s a quick tasting before their shift. Wine producers are also invited to educate staff on their wines, a feat that can, more often than not, turn into a product pitch.
It is unfortunate, as staff tend to forget most of what they learned once the next producer or two have passed through with further training.
A further illustration is when experts use a number of different wine tasting and rating systems to communicate their opinions, ratings, likes and dislikes. Big words colour newspaper and magazine wine reviews. As a result, many consumers are left thinking that wine is too sophisticated and may not be for them.
This is the antiquated status quo that has dominated far too long. It is evident the market is showing forthcoming change. The new, connected consumer has started to question and rely less on expert and critic ratings.
By subscribing to the philosophy of Aldous Huxley, ‘a brave new world’, heroic, forward thinking wine industry members would be richly rewarded for their insightful decision to join the growing new trend of illuminating the mysteries of wine as opposed to the current method of the dictatorial method of wine education.
The solution is something visual that uses simple English, helps people get confident about wine more quickly, and improves their recall of the wines they taste, with useful detail.
Critically, we need to embrace a new level of openness as well.
The wine industry is undergoing a tumultuous seismic change of wine appreciation. Quini subscribes to the brave new world.
We cemented our commitment with the recent release of a consumer engagement tool that helps the industry move closer to these goals.
The API (Application Programming Interface) is but one way for consumer wine websites of any size to adopt a unified wine tasting and rating standard, and make it accessible to their visitors. To allow users to share and exchange opinions about wine using apples to apples comparison, in a fully transparent and user friendly environment. Where professionals and those new to wine belong and feel equally empowered.
Technology, leveraged to its full extent, will play a key role in accelerating growth. Quini, an integral player in the industry, is positively contributing towards this new, unified approach.
Today we tend to lag behind many market sectors in adopting standards and technologies that empower the consumer. It’s a mindset that must change. Change is a constant, painful but necessary, and the new wine consumer is demanding this revolutionary change.
For example, many consider star ratings virtually meaningless when it comes to a subject as interesting and complex as wine.
Protectionism is self destructive. It alienates today’s well informed wine consumers and many consider it to tarnish the industry’s credibility. There is a growing movement towards more openness, transparency and engagement with consumers proactively online. Shying away from consumer reviews is not a solution but a problem in itself. Talking with consumers, not at them, is the new era. Using a simple, standard language everyone can understand. One that humanizes the wine and the winemaker.
The inevitable demise of the ‘ancien’ regime is abundantly clear, and it is now the time for true champions to stand up and be counted.
Do you consider yourself to be in this illustrious group?