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My name is Marania Miller and I’m a Master’s student at INSEEC Bordeaux, finishing up my wine marketing and management degree. I’m also a recent graduate from Sonoma State University where I obtained a B.S in Wine Business Administration. I was born and raised in Tahiti, French Polynesia with an American father and a Tahitian mother. Both my parents were fans of wine growing up, so that meant trying out wines from all over the world and of course letting me get a taste from time to time. That’s when my passion for wine really grew and I discovered the regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma, where I decided to go to college.
For my Master’s dissertation, I believed it was important to study something that was relevant and I noticed this was something that was quite overlooked in the industry. Being that I studied in both the U.S and France, I wanted to explore the factors contributing to the growing preference for CA wines over Bordeaux wines and study the markets in which this phenomenon was happening.
Yes, I moved around quite a bit, and this past year was my first experience working with the French wine industry. I would be lying if I told you my travels stopped there. I’m actually moving to Australia in November to get a firsthand experience in the wine industry over there!
Class at INSEEC MBA & MSc wine program
Through my dissertation I learned quite a lot about the French wine consumer in general, but the most striking resemblance I’ve noticed between them and US consumers is their apprehension regarding each other’s wines, where both tend to stick to wines from their own country. I’ve also learned quite a lot about the different wine regions in France. I thought it was interesting to learn that each region has their own niche and is known for specific wine characteristics, whereas in the US you can go from one winery to the other and get a completely different experience with different varietals, and styles.
My first tip would be to know your guests (or your own) preferences. I’ve learned through trial and error that not every Sauvignon Blanc fan is a fan of oysters, and vice versa. So you really have to adapt your menu to your guests likings, or take a completely different route and surprise them! And of course, you can always refer to wine magazines and publications with pairing suggestions! One of my favorites is Wine Enthusiast with its different food and wine pairings that you can find for free on their website or on their social media.
Like I mentioned earlier, Australia is up next! These past few years I got to juggle around with different jobs in the wine industry., I first worked at a winery in Dry Creek Valley, CA as a sales and hospitality associate, and I really enjoyed the firsthand experience with customers. I then worked for a wine shop in the center of Bordeaux, where I handled their Marketing and Communication. I think the next step in my career is to see
Post-Grad celebration at Amista Vineyard in 2022
Yeah, of course! This past year alone has been crazy different for the wine industry, notably for Marketing. With the help of ChatGPT, I’ve noticed that brands’ marketing efforts have seen an uprise in productivity and content creation. I can’t be sure between the correlation of those two phenomenons but I can only assume that this only helped brands spew out content. A few articles on the topic have actually come out and are definitely worth a read. See Jane Anson’s article here: ChatGPT and wine: extinction-level event for wine writers and sommeliers?
The French wine industry is a playing field of its own. Trends tend to be slower here whereas in other markets more quickly embraced (I’m looking at you screw caps). I would say that the consumer here is also quite different, I explored the topic in my dissertation and came to the conclusion that French consumers tend to play it a little more safe when it comes to purchasing wine, whether that’s due to national pride or disinterest in trying wines from other regions of the world. Not to say that all consumers are like this, but a majority would probably stick to French wines.
The first thing that comes to mind is of course apéro! There’s truly no other country that celebrates 5 o’clock like French people do. Whether they’re having a glass of wine on a terrace, or getting together with friends around a plate of charcuterie and cheese, that’s the French apéritif!
“One of my favorite bars in Bordeaux for trying out Grands Crus by the glass. The CIVB”
My favorite sources of info come from all over the place. I'm subscribed to newsletters, such as La Lettre de la Fillière for packaging trends and new laws or regulations in France. For data and trends I tend to look at Liv-ex, which was great for my job because it mostly dealt with Grands Crus. And for current events I use LinkedIn where I follow people like Robert Joseph, Jane Anson and Dr. Liz Thach, who was one of my professors at Sonoma State University.