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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Inter Rhne, the generic body representing wine producers in the Rhne valley, is looking to segment its members' wines for export into one or more of five marketing categories based on quality and price, to help trade buyers identify the right wines for their particular needs. Francois-Rgis Drounau, Inter Rhne export brand manager responsible for the UK, told Harpers that the organisation is currently talking to its members about adopting the system and submitting their wines to an audit as to which category, or categories, their wines should be placed. The categories are: Entry level (3/4); Basic (3/4); Branded (4/6); Seduction (limited quantities, more on-trade, 4/6); and Ambassador (prestige wines, 6+, more on-premise). Drounau said sales of Rhne wines to the UK dipped in 2003 by 7-8%, but after a difficult start to 2004, now appeared stable. The 2002 vintage was not a good one in the Rhne and the decision had been made to embark on a campaign of aggressive retailer promotions this autumn and winter. He said Inter Rhne had reorganised and expanded its export department, and he would be visiting the UK several times a year, talking to buyers, journalists and the trade. It is important to show that the Rhne is fighting,' he said. We have to get the Rhne inside the minds of consumers.' Drounau said that there would be a convention in December to discuss the new focus. If members agree, the plan is for a marketing agency to visit members to audit their wines and agree which category or categories are applicable to their wines destined for export. He estimates that Basic and Entry level will account for 50-60% of the wines for export, while 25% will be Branded. Seduction, which will be unusual offerings such as Ctes du Rhne whites or ros, will account for 3/4%, and Ambassador up to 20%.