“Fixing” The Wine Sales Results?
The Hypergigantitholic (that’s a technical term in the wine industry meaning "BIG") wine company known a Constellation seems to find itself in a bit of an embarrassing situation down in Australia.
According to reports, in an attempt to influence sales trials at a dining chain that was testing the popularity of a couple Constellation brands before adding them to their list, Constellation told their employees to go to these restaurants and buy the wine in order to "maximize volumes" during the 8-week trial.
Word of this maneuver got out when emails asking employees to buy a bottle a week at the chain then bill it back to the company were leaked:
""We would implore each of you to participate in this activity as
it is vitally important that we maximise volumes during the
remainder of the trial period. Line managers, as leaders of our
business, can you ensure your direct reports are aware of this and
are participating to ensure Constellation Europe is awarded this
lucrative contract. There is now two weeks remaining of the trial
and it is key that we pull through every bottle of Constellation
wine … to see us over the line."
Constellation claims it was actually undertaking a "mystery customer exercise" just to see how the wine was being presented during the trial period.
For the sake of argument, because we don’t have ALL the facts, that Constellation’s request of its employees to go buy the wine was actually an attempt to influence volume figures during the eight week trial.
Is any one surprised that this sort of thing happens? I wouldn’t be.
A rather benign example of this sort of thing happening is what takes place at charity wine auctions. I can report first-hand knowledge of "consortiums" of buyers coming together, financed by a winery, to assure the winery’s lot at the auction goes for VERY HIGH prices in order to garner prestige from the high price at which the wine sells. Now, while somewhat unethical, this doesn’t compare to what Constellation is accused of, but it speak to the notion that fixing results is a part of business.