ProWein 2016: ‘Wine needs to be more daring,’ says Origin Wines founder

Origin Wines founder Bernard Fontannaz at the first day of ProWein called on the UK wine trade to be more daring and try new packaging and product ideas for the off-trade in a effort to engage more with consumers.

“We have to be a bit more exciting and have an aspirational dimension. We need to be more daring and go into unchartered territory. We need to try new things and may be they won’t always work- but we need to at least try,” said Fontannaz.

According to Fontannaz due to the changing landscape of the UK retail environment it is important that brands look at experimenting with new ideas now.

He said: “The off-trade is still a good channel, but you have to do it well and be able to compete. It is still the main volume in the UK, whether you like it or not. There is a lot of change at the moment and people are trying to find their way, reinvent themselves and fight a declining market. We are trying new packaging which will become more and more important. The problem if you just put out another label on the shelf it will just sit there gathering dust.”

Fontannaz points out that it is critical to communicate effectively with consumers to continue to attract more people into the category.

“How do we get the consumer to interact with wine? That is where messaging is important. We are far too technical in our approach and we are far too clever in a way.  We are not interacting with the consumer and they’d not understand what we are talking about. If you cannot get that liaison then we are missing the point,” he said.

He sees what craft beer has been able to do for the beer category overall as a great example of what wine could be doing to help bring in new consumers.

Fontannaz said: “Look at what craft beer was able to do. It is quite an amazing story.  Craft beer is very competitive and tough, but people are happy to pay £1.50 or £2  more per bottle because they see the added value. Wine is all about craft. Wine is by definition a craft product and somehow we aren’t able to communicate it. We are missing the boat totally. We have everything in our power to do the same and we don’t manage it. It is appalling.”

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