There were the great wines of yesterday. There are the great wines of today. And there will be the great wines of tomorrow. Whether we like it or not, the tide is constantly turning and it’s best to be on the right side of history. Yet another reminder of this is the 2022 “Top 100s” from the likes of Wine Spectator and James Suckling which have totally upended the results of the 2000s (and even 2010s such is the speed of change).
This upheaval holds dangers for the great wines of the past. There is a strong risk of being considered ‘old hat’, with their disappearance from the rankings clearly reflecting their declining ‘brand’. For those now in the limelight, the listings are a major boost to their image amongst up-and-coming fine wine enthusiasts who avidly read and follow such recommendations every year.
So, what is the best way to reach these new consumers who are set to take over from a naturally aging clientele? This is the major question that wine estates have been consistently putting to us for more than five years. Given that the world of fine wines is the last bastion of the luxury goods business with no direct contact with the end customer, it will come as no surprise to you that there is no easy answer. Could you imagine the big names in luxury today – Hermès, Gucci, or Dior etc. – not knowing who is buying their products? And yet this is effectively the case in 2023 for fine wines whose prices have hoisted them from the status of prestigious wines to that of luxury wines in just 15 years. New marketing channels, new visual campaigns, new messaging and brand extensions – we of course cover everything to maintain the renown of these great names around the world. Our strategic recommendations obviously vary with the geographical area, existing distribution channels, and the brand’s own DNA. 2022 also saw the emergence of new phenomena: the blockchain, NFTs, and the Web3. This was a chance for us to take a long, hard look at the opportunities that this new virtual world has to offer.
It would be a mistake to ignore the blockchain and NFTs in 2023. They are a means of reaching this new audience that wine estates need to sustain their business and reinforce their brand image. It is one thing to view NFTs as a new distribution channel offering major advantages over what has been available until now; at Vitabella we also see in them a new marketing tool with which to take a first step into Web3, familiarize ourselves with the new technologies that make up the Metaverse, and move into a new distribution era by targeting the worldwide clientele of the future that is primarily digital native.
The modern wine drinker no longer buys a fine wine; they buy the experience of a fine wine. We have been investing in Big Data since 2008 in order to understand this shift, and today we are keeping a close eye on the new technologies that will revolutionize the world of luxury goods and connect the world of fine wines to a new customer base. While 2022 brought us Dalle-2 – a new Artificial Intelligence system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language -, and ChatGPT – a kind of AI assistant that works on a text-to-text basis – just imagine what the New Year has in store! In 2023 we should, more than ever, be viewing digital disruption as a springboard to connect directly with those who will be drinking the great wines of tomorrow – a community to be nurtured in the coming years.
Reach Guillaume Jourdan via LinkedIn