Vinexpo Daily 2019 – Day 2 Edition

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Embracing the digital future

Standing on the slopes of a remote Argentine vineyard or gazing out over the sumptuous terroir of a Burgundy estate, it might be tempting to dismiss the importance of digital to the wine and spirits trade. But the reality is that e-commerce, social media and big data are poised to revolutionise this multi-billion dollar business. And just as in other industry sectors, digital disruption will create winners and losers.

There are two key elements to the digital story. Firstly, as will be discussed in today’s e-commerce conference, online retailing gives wine producers a powerful platform to reach more clients, expand their business and grow faster. For companies able to reinvent themselves as data-driven and consumer-centric, there is a genuine opportunity to gain a competitive edge over their rivals.

Secondly, there is an opportunity to build deeper, more immersive relationships with consumers. As Vinexpo chairman of the board Christophe Navarre explained in Monday’s Vinexpo Daily, social media and video-rich websites, backed by attractive sampling opportunities, are a way to connect with the growing number of people who are willing to pay for premium wine but are scared to make mistakes.

This raises the prospect of using digital to transform casual wine consumers into repeating purchasing connoisseurs, willing to spend $10- $20 on a bottle of wine. At the same time, it offers a gateway into the lives of mobile-obsessed millennials – a group that is already showing a great propensity to drink rose and sparkling wine.

Vinexpo’s strategic partnership with leading Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba is a sign of the times. The company, which presented its vision on day one on Vinexpo Bordeaux, plans to make the wine purchasing experience “more personal, more engaging and more convenient”. And it would be a brave vintner who bets against them.

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Richard Barnes
Editor-in-chief, Vinexpo Daily