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Producers: think laterally to succeed - Michael Paul

Published:  18 January, 2007

At a presentation at Cape 2006 James Herrick, the Wine Prophet, equated the wine market in the UK to an hour glass or less prosaically to Marilyn Monroe - thousands of producers attempting to reach millions of consumers through an increasingly consolidating route to market.

Firstly wine is not down-loadable and cannot be sampled online so the most effective selling model is probably a combination of traditional retail and web. The "clicks and mortar" model.

Secondly, whilst the internet is dramatically increasing consumer choice, it is also improving the consumers' ability to compare brands and therefore implies increased brand promiscuity. There is thus even less room for lazy marketing for brands that have no real resonance with consumers or for brands which share the same space and have no separate identity.

The route to market may be broadening but this opportunity will only benefit those who understand that successful branding implies putting better quality wine in a well-presented bottle.

We can't rely on consumers visiting producers and meeting winemakers, we have to bring all that passion and personality to the shelf.

Creating real cut through, developing brands, which are not simply appealing but irresistible, is much easier said than done and that to me is our greatest challenge.

Michael Paul, Chairman of Wine Intelligence, Match Consulting and Lovethatwine