Wine and Where the Kangaroo Resides

The governing body in France that grants appellation status to wine growing regions has added 4 new appellations to the over 400 that currently are recognized in France.

There are apparently some who are quite unhappy about this further carving up of France’s vineyard lands:“France’s wine industry often operates at different speeds with little co-ordination or coherence,” said Jean Clavel, head of the Coteaux Languedoc AOC region.

“This decision by INAO is the fruit of 10 years of work by
different committees. The wine world moves at the speed of the internet
and this decision seems to me to be completely out-dated.”

The point M.Clavel is trying to make is that appellations are outdated in a world that is seeing most wine being bought based on price and varietal, rather than an obscure place name on the label. The point is also one born out of the fact that French winemakers are having a harder and harder time competing with New World wines that really have little concern for the idea that where grapes are grown really has much meaning to the consumer who appears more concerned with the species of animal on the label.

I would argue that the problem is not that consumers don’t care about the place the wine was made or don’t care about "terroir", but rather there is a lack of imagination on the part of those who do think place is important and that "terroir" can define a product.

It’s a lack of marketing imagination to be precise. Pretty soon someone is going to figure out that if you can make a bottle of wine a substitute for "being there", then all you have to do is make where ever "There" is a locale people want to be. It appears  number of French vintners, marketers, exporters and importers of wine have forgotten the power of envy and desire when it comes to marketing.

They should consider what that the set up from admiring a kangaroo is an admiration of the place where the Kangaroo resides.

4 Responses

  1. Gene - Seattle Wine Blog - September 14, 2006

    Tom, You can say that again! As a psychologist, I concur that envy and desire drive much of marketing. People desire animals because they signify a warm cuddly feeling. The French need to market “A Year in Provence” in a bottle – no jet lag, no homeland security, no terrorists. I just marketed a tasting of Tuscan wines as bringing the sunshine of Tuscany into your home on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Seattle.

  2. Mike - September 14, 2006

    Let the madness reign. The Foster’s Group has announced that it will sell South African and Chilean wine under its Lindeman’s brand. “The beverage giant says it is a result of research in key export markets, which shows shoppers buy wine because it is good value for money, rather than its origin.” Nevermind that in 1843 Dr Henry J Lindeman planted his first vineyard on his 330-acre property ‘Cawarra’ in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. What is history when you can make a buck or two because wine drinkers outside Australia don’t know that history.

  3. Fredric Koeppel - September 18, 2006

    Of course California follows France in this too; every year we see more applications filed trying to establish new AVAs on fairly nebulous rationale, making the job of Appellation America (and the poor consumer) to clarify these matters even harder. Dumbing down brands as Foster’s is doing is unfortunate, but we see the effect also with Beringer, which is going to cream-colored labels of almost the same size for all its wines, from the inexpensive stuff to the most expensive. Talk about a confusion of aims.

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