Organising lunches with leading chefs around the world, presenting new vintages to professionals and journalists, bringing together VIPs for an evening in a magical venue. In the world of fine wines these form part of the classic format, one we have been used to for decades. The reason it has lasted so long is simple – it works. In real life at least. But real life has changed.
Whether we like it or not, the future of wine will, without any doubt, be virtual. The future of Bordeaux en Primeur. Virtual Primeurs. The launch of great champagnes. Virtual shows. Of course, this will not replace tastings, which are essential, but virtual interaction will become an inevitable practice. We saw the first signs of this in recent weeks with presentations being organised by owners of champagne houses, châteaux and estates, via Zoom in particular. After this “warm-up round”, it’s now time to acknowledge that we have entered a new era. It’s no longer about simply recreating events, but about rethinking them entirely.
This isn’t a radical change. It’s merely the acceleration of a trend that we had already seen emerging. The catalyst, of course, is the Covid-19 crisis. And the trend? Reaching out to as wide an audience as possible. To do that, the world of fine wines must undergo a “Phygital” revolution (a contraction of ‘physical’, as in an actual place, and ‘digital’, as in technology). A fresh approach to marketing to relaunch the world of wine in the midst of this pandemic.
It’s not about streaming an actual event live. Been there, done that! It’s about creating virtual events, accessible to as many people as possible, bringing together owners, experts, celebrities (chefs, artists, athletes etc.) and influencers. Wine professionals are the presenters. Prominent experts contribute detail and commentary. Celebrities offer a different angle and, most importantly, create a buzz and attract a wider public. Wine is obviously the main topic with “Phygital”, but the experience is just as important. Being there and sharing time with a host of well-known people being filmed live in their own environment adds a whole new dimension to the event. It’s like extending a behind-the-scenes invitation to a large number of people who aren’t specialists but are keen to find out more. With the dawning of the “Phygital” era, a new, human connection is being created in the still somewhat closed world of wine. It is favouring inclusiveness over exclusivity. This is the challenge that the biggest wine names in the world have to meet. Covid-19 will perhaps help them surmount the “psychological” barrier more quickly than they could have imagined…
(This post was written by Guillaume Jourdan. Reach him via LinkedIn)