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Wine Industry Fascination: a demanding mistress

I’m fascinated by the wine industry.

Yet it’s like a demanding mistress, you’d like to just ignore her sometimes but you’re somehow remain caught in her spell and can’t seem to shake yourself loose.

I’ve been mulling over whyBeautiful young woman

It’s not just that ethereal romance of the wine industry, the long rows of orderly vines set against towering mountains, the 3 star Michelin restaurants, the craftsman at work.

It’s not just because great wine is pure nectar.

No, I’m afraid it’s more because I’m curious about human nature and have been ever since I fell over market research and consumer behavior as a young man. I love the way the wine industry is full of “characters” which I’ll come back to in later posts. It really is fascinating marketing but there are other reasons as well.

Here is why the wine industry is so fascinating

  • There are tens of thousands of brands in the various wine categories which results in “long tail” marketing with complex marketing issues behind them
  • Many consumers are passionate about wine, in marketing lingo this is a “high involvement” category
  • Different brands can be essentially the same, but the prices and perceptions of them can be completely different
  • There are all sorts of companies: multinationals, medium size companies, coops, and small family vineyards and wineries
  • Each year the wine from the same vineyard block can be different from the previous year – not just in the tactile sense but also in the quantities grown
  • The wine growing and wine making practices are a complex strategic equation where you’re trying to make wine for a certain price bracket, for a certain taste profile, using certain theoretical principles
  • Once the perfect wine has been made it may never sell because of a constipated distribution channel and bizarre liquor laws
  • There is a huge variety of stores from enormous national liquor chains and supermarkets to tiny one-man boutique wine stores
  • The industry can be immensely profitable one year and a wreck the next

And I’m sure there are others, feel free to add your thoughts below!

Photo courtesy of: beautiful young women

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