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11 months ago

Vinexpo Daily - Review Edition

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NEWS Steve Raye

NEWS Steve Raye President, Bevology 7 Keys to Success in the US Vinexpo Bordeaux conference outlines secrets to entering the complex American market To make it in the US you have to be sharp, dynamic, different, super creative and know the market inside out, and even then, you only stand a minimal chance of getting your product listed by your chosen retailer or operator. That was the stark conclusion given by Steve Raye, who runs his own wine broking, marketing and consultancy business, Bevology, to help wine producers find a foothold or widen distribution in the US. Speaking at Vinexpo last week, Raye picked out seven key factors for entering the US market: 1/ DO YOUR HOMEWORK The US drinks distribution network is complicated and hard to fathom to outsiders. Its three-tier system has been set up to ensure each state is able to manage and control its own drinks industry. But within that, there are state-by-state differences that make the whole process even more complicated. There are 18 controlled states, where drinks distribution is handled by the state and sold through its drinks stores, and 33 open states where it is organised by independent distributors. It’s vital, stressed Raye, that producers work hand in hand with a US consultancy or broking business to act as their mouth and ears on the ground. 2/ UNDERSTANDING THE THREE-TIER SYSTEM Before getting in to the detail of how different states operate, you have to understand how the three-tier system operates, meaning you have to first find an importer willing to take your product in the first place. It is only through an importer that you can access the all-important distributors and wholesalers that are then going to market your wines to supermarkets, liquor stores, restaurants or bars. 3/ IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS When it comes to cracking the US, it’s not just how good your product is; it’s who you know, and what they can do for you. Only 10 distributors control 73% of all products sold in the US, and they’re inundated with thousands of product requests every year, so you need to know the right people in the right places. 4/WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM Don’t approach a US importer or distributor with your tried and trusted story about how long you’ve been making wine or how unique your terroir is. That is the window dressing. To get a seat at the table you have to think like an importer or distributor. What can you offer them that is going to excite them, make their lives easier and want to list you? 5/ BE CREATIVE That means being genuinely different from all the other wines or products in your category. Not necessarily in the way it is made, but how it is marketed, promoted, what key trend is it addressing. You have to be more creative than the last producer to walk through a distributor’s doors. 6/ E-COMMERCE CAN CRACK THE MARKET FOR YOU With such a closed traditional distribution route to market, the new e-commerce industry is “changing the landscape” in the US, said Raye, opening the doors to imported wines. While there are 23% of imported wines in the overall market, they make up 53% of e-commerce sales. 7/ INFLUENCE THE INFLUENCERS It is why wine apps and wine review platforms like Vivino and Wine Searcher are so important in the US. You can create your own section on Vivino, list all your wines and tell your back story direct to millions of, say, potential Vivino customers looking to cut through the system to find the wines they want • VINEXPO ANNOUNCES MAJOR EVENT FOR NEW YORK IN 2018 March 5-6, 2018, Vinexpo New York will host exhibitors from all wine-producing regions around the globe to the world’s largest wineconsuming market. Vinexpo New York will be open exclusively to the national trade. Targeted visitors are importers, distributors, retailers, brokers, e-commerce, on-trade buyers and sommeliers. Held in the Javits Center’s, glass-enclosed River Pavilion, Vinexpo New York will feature two days of business meetings, tastings, conferences, master classes and networking events. Its exhibition will showcase the newest wines and spirits introduced to the US market. 4 VINEXPO DAILY / REVIEW EDITION / FRIDAY 30 TH JUNE

Introducing a Revolutionary New Buyers’ Networking Club Vinexpo Explorer brings top 100 buyers together at inaugural Austrian event Vinexpo is making further strides to differentiate itself from other international trade shows by launching a new initiative, Vinexpo Explorer. The new initiative will bring together the world’s Top 100 wine and spirit buyers at key networking events in emerging and trending wine countries. In a nutshell, the new initiative will see Vinexpo identify who it sees as being the most influential and important wine and spirits buyers across all the major export markets. It will then invite them to attend twoday Explorer events in key, up and coming wines and spirits regions or countries of the world. The initiative is all part of the trade show’s commitment to offer the global wine and spirits industry more than a bi-annual event in Bordeaux, supported by exhibitions in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York. Vinexpo Explorer very much encapsulates its desire to introduce measures designed to bring producers and key buyers together to help them work better together and ultimately do business. The first Vinexpo Explorer event will take place in Austria on September 11-12 thanks to a new link up with Austrian Wine. But beforehand it has set itself quite a task. Just who do you include in such an illustrious list and do you not risk putting some pretty prominent noses out of joint by not including them in your first Top 100 list? With so many key markets and buyers to choose from, it is going to be fascinating to see who makes the final cut. But Vinexpo’s chief executive, Guillaume Deglise, believes this new “revolutionary approach” is needed to help bring buyers and producers closer together. It will take buyers from mixed retail backgrounds and encourage them to swap ideas, and share experiences and insights. Be they a Scandinavian monopoly, a multinational hotel group, major supermarket chain or restaurant group. The final selection of buyers will, he says, reflect the “complexity” of the wine and spirits trade. “We want to create a community of buyers and it is also a chance for us to get to know our buyers better,” said Deglise. The list of 100 buyers will be tweaked year from year to suit the nature of the event being held. The inaugural trip to Austria in September, for example, will be exclusively wine buyers to work with the programme being devised by Austrian Wine and its managing director, Willi Klinger. Klinger sees this first event being an enormous opportunity to translate growing interest in Austrian wines in to hard sales over the coming years. “It’s great exposure for us and a chance to transport the image of Austrian wine into sales,” he said. Klinger hopes the event will help its three year strategy to grow Austria’s global exports from around €150m a year to nearer €200m. The Vinexpo Explorer events will be backed up by further buyer networking opportunities both at Vinexpo Bordeaux and its sister events in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York. The two-day Explorer events are designed to give buyers the chance to take part in one to one meetings with producers and taste special wines and spirits from the host country not possible on any normal trade visit. They will also include business workshops in which buyers will be expected to work in small groups with their fellow buyers to discuss and analyse key trading issues for the host country or region and then feedback their conclusions to the wider group. Vinexpo will use its database and knowledge of the global buying scene to identify the top 100 buyers to invite. Guillaume Deglise says it is too early to say where future events will be held but said it was an ideal vehicle to take buyers to explore the whisky distilleries of Scotland or the wineries of Oregon or Swartland in South Africa. The key will be to offer buyers “intimate contact with producers from all over the world” • Willi Klinger Managing Director, Austrian Wine WE WANT TO CREATE A COMMUNITY OF BUYERS AND IT IS ALSO A CHANCE FOR US TO GET TO KNOW OUR BUYERS BETTER VINEXPO DAILY / REVIEW EDITION / FRIDAY 30 TH JUNE 5