|Michael Cox: the importance of the UK market for producers|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 16:02|
Michael Cox, European director of Wines of Chile, gives his views on how the changing global wine market is affecting marketing spend in the UK.
I think ‘managing growth’ is the expression that readily comes to mind when one examines the challenges facing Chile at the moment. Not only have exports (volume, and especially value) been growing markedly in the past few years, but the number of exciting and dynamic markets have grown too, led by China, but by no means restricted to Asia.
While I would love more, notably so that we can carry out more consumer shows as we did a few years ago, I am convinced that the budget we have can help Chile to manage its way through this period of realignment, and as it strategically moves into a more premium focused market, where at between, say, £6 to £15 it represents outstanding value across a diversity of style and region.
So, this is a very longwinded way of saying that the UK market, while still dynamic and big, comes with certain caveats and pitfalls for any producer. Wine prices – be they export prices, or especially retail prices – are still unsustainably low for most. And while three for £10 and BOGOFs still dominate the retail scene, and on-traders remain obsessed with low price house wines, the UK market will continue to slip down the pecking order of many exporters’ priority lists. Chileans are by no means turning their backs on UK – far from it, because there are substantial and exciting opportunities for making progress at higher prices, but their marketing dollars and generic support has to be tailored carefully with support needed elsewhere in the world. Managing growth...... an enviable situation!
In summary, I certainly believe that generic bureaux such as Wines of Chile can make contributions despite the UK have a somewhat tarnished reputation in the eyes of many wine producers. The UK still has a massive role to play in the world’s wine scene – but we have to make it a more profitable market in which to operate. We must loosen the noose around the neck of the goose that has lain golden eggs for so long... and that means trying harder to persuade consumers that better wine costs more!