French Wine Branding…Of course.

The New York Time’s Eric Pfanner has an interesting story today about a French wine company apparently doing something extraordinary for a French wine company: Branding!

The story has become a fairly familiar one: The French, having trouble competing with competition from new world wineries and their own tradition, must do something to revive their franchise as the premier producers of wine in the world.

The person behind the new French Branding Experiment is Pierre Courbon, the director of international marketing for a new brand being called Chamarre, which will be on sale in America in large amounts later in the year. M. Courbon has something interesting to say:

“Wine increasingly is becoming a consumer good, not a cultural
exception,” said Pierre Courbon, international marketing director at
OVS, a French company that was created to sell a new wine brand,
Chamarré, which it intends to go head to head with consumer favorites
from Australia, California, Chile and elsewhere. “Beer, spirits,
vegetables, dairy products and even bread is branded. Why not wine?"

It turns out the French have had no problem at all branding their wine products. Sure some have done better than others. But if the French need a homegrown example of branding in the wine industry all they really need to do is look to the Champagne producers.

Is there another category of wine in the world that been made more successful via branding than Champagne? The various large Champagne houses (think Roederer, Mumm, Veuve, etc) are among the most successful branding agents in the entire wine business.

With a multi-million dollar marketing budget in store for Chamarre it’s likely that we will all become familiar with the new brand fairly soon.

Does anyone really think the French won’t eventually overcome their natural disadvantages and start competing with the New World industries that are tossing out low priced wines? I don’t. Of course they will. They have no choice really.

3 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - July 24, 2006

    The case isn’t necessarily that the French haven’t tried branding wines. Remember French Rabbit (revealing my age here). And the article in the NYT mentions Fat Bastard, whose sales are dipping. Of course the French have an attitude problem, one of which is a sort of snobbish idea about marketing. In all my years of meeting winemakers, winery owners, marketing and PR people at lunch or dinner or at tastings, the number of French people or representatives of French wineries I have encountered is far less than Australia, Italy or Chile. The French need to man the barricades of marketing and get out amongst the people.

  2. John - March 17, 2007

    Wine has become and en essential good for many arround the globe and french wine producers should take care of whatever is happening in the course of wine improvement.

  3. Chenin blanc - June 15, 2008

    I believe Chamarré understood the challenges the French wine was and still is facing. Chamarré made a wine with the consumer in mind. As a result, they have a wine range that is accessible in taste, positioning (varietals) and pricing.

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