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You probably already know this, well, almost everyone knows this - but wine consumption in France is in millions.
France consumes over 30 million hectoliters of wine every year, which is 14% of global output. This makes France one of the largest wine consumers alongside the United States and Italy. To top it all off, the average French person consumes 48 liters of wine a year. (larvf.com).
Due to the immense amount of wine consumption in France, wineries are always wanting to get their wines on the racks of French retail stores and enter the French on-trade wine market. However, with retailers being pitched by hundreds of wineries and producers, how are you going to make your wine stand out?
When pitching your wine to French retailers, you need to make sure you stand out and drill yourself, your story, and your wine in their head - making them want your wine even more. So the next time you’re pitching to a French retailer, keep these tips in mind so your wine can find its spot in French retail stores.
The first thing you should keep in mind while pitching your wine to French retailers is that they always prefer meetings over emails. Retailers get hundreds of emails everyday, and a lot of them end up getting lost in their inbox. Moreover, it’s hard for the retailer to remember each and every person who has sent them an email. However, if you set up a meeting through call first, and then an in-person meeting, then the retailer is more likely to remember you and your pitch.
When you’re going to a retailer meeting, remember to carry your wine samples with you. It always helps if you can make the retailer taste your wine then and there, and to top it off you can give a bottle or two to everyone in the meeting. This way, when the retailer has your wine to take home, or to drink at their own time, they will remember you, your pitch, and if your quality, price, and packaging is up to the mark - then you’ll definitely get a call.
This is very important. You need to look at the retailer you’re pitching to, do all the market research, and find out what type of wine that particular supermarket/store carries. For example, if you’re pitching to the buyer for Monoprix, you should know that Monoprix has wines ranging from the lowest price to some of the highest prices out there. So here, you have the flexibility in pricing your wine. However, if you’re pitching to a convenience store, or a smaller retailer, then do your market research and see what the price points of their wines are. If you have a really good quality wine, and it’s priced at 8 euros, but the wines at the convenience store you’re pitching to are between 4-6 euros, then the retailer isn’t going to pick your wine. So make sure you price your wine according to the retailer you’re pitching to, or pick a retailer that can settle with your price point.
One more thing to remember while pricing is that you need to be a little flexible with your pricing and give the retailer space to play around. The retailer might have their own ways of merchandising your wines with other products, and if your prices are already too high and they won’t be able to make money out of their deals, then they aren’t going to offer your wine a spot on their shelves. But if you give them a solid price where they can strike their own deals according to their marketing plan, then your wine will find its place on the retail racks of that French retailer.
When you’re pitching to a retailer for the first time, they might not order a large amount of cases at first. They might just go with one or two cases, to kind of test your wine according to their audience and consumers. If a retailer requests one case or a few bottles to put to the test, then agree with that. No retailer will be able to put full trust in your if you aren’t a little flexible. Of course if your wine sells off their racks, then repeat orders are guaranteed - but if they ask you to start low, then go with it and leave the rest to your wine and the retailer.
Retailers pick wine that they know are going to sell, which means if they think your wine won’t sell, then there’s no way you will end up on their shelves. The best thing to do here is leverage the digital world. Promote your wine on social media, hold consumer tastings where people can come and taste your wines and give you feedback. In your pitch to the retailer, show them the results of your wine tasting, and how your wine is doing through the eyes of a consumer. If consumers want your wine, and retailers see that consumers want your wine, then your wine is definitely going to end up on the racks of those French retail stores.
Remember one thing, that the wine is yours - and no one can sell it better than you. When pitching to the French retailer, build a marketing and merchandising plan for your wine and present it to them. For example you can come up with offers for the holiday season and festivals which will help the retailer sell your wine more. You can also come up with shelf talkers just for your wine and give them to the retailers. This way, you’re helping the retailer out with the marketing and merchandising, and that always makes the retailer happy. However, make sure you give them some space to play around with your project. So let your marketing and merchandising plan be a suggestion and a helping hand instead of a “you must merchandise my product this way” plan.
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