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Rhne scrums down for 2007

Published:  23 July, 2008

Inter Rhne is pinning its hopes on rugby and radio to keep its position as the number-one French AOC in the UK off-trade.

The organisation, which saw its region overtake Bordeaux last year, announced its 2007 marketing strategy at English rugby's spiritual home, Twickenham, this week, and also revealed the latest statistics for Rhne wines in its key markets.

Florence Boube-Legrand, the newly-appointed export manager for the UK market, said that the two key priorities for Rhne this year were to maintain leadership of the French AOC red wine market in the UK', and to increase volume sales'. Other initiatives include a greater focus on ros, and specific programmes for the on-trade, and for the top Ctes du Rhne wines: the Crus.

Inter Rhne is to continue its sponsorship of radio station Heart FM, for another two years at least, and it will also base a number of activities around the Rugby World Cup, which takes place in France in the autumn. It is not an official sponsor of the tournament, but it will sponsor the Evening Standard newspaper's Rugby World Cup Guide, and will possibly host a number of tastings here and in France. Inter Rhne's interest in rugby comes at the expense of cricket, and last year's sponsorship of the 20/20 tournament will not be repeated this year.

In terms of statistics, 80% of Rhne wines are sold in supermarkets in the UK, and Boube-Legrand said that they would remain a priority' for the region, ahead of independent stores. She also pointed out that Rhne has two of the top four French brands in the UK: French Connection and La Chasse du Pape.

Boube-Legrand was also pleased with the quality of the 2006 Rhne vintage: We had an excellent vintage in 2006. It was a little more concentrated than in 2005, and we had better polyphenols, too. The vintage was characterised by harmony, concentration, and ageing potential.