Famous wine-making region has a new brand strategy designed to remind the world that it doesn’t just produce Beaujolais Nouveau.
A recent addition to the Vinexpo family is Vinexpo Explorer, an innovative, business-generating event that highlights a different producing region every year. This year, after previous successful trips to Austria and Sonoma County in California, the focus of the exclusive invitation-only event is France’s iconic Beaujolais region. The Vinexpo Daily team talked to Paul Marchais, event and partnership manager Vinexpo, and Dominique Piron, president of Inter Beaujolais, about the importance of the event and what Beaujolais hopes to achieve.
WE HAVE DECIDED TO FOCUS MAINLY ON DEVELOPED ECONOMIES, AND ALSO THE FAST- GROWING CHINA MARKET. DOMINIQUE PIRON
Paul, can you explain the idea behind Vinexpo Explorer?
It is a business and networking event which brings international buyers to a region that wants to highlight its producers, promote itself and increase exports. The vision is for the buyers to meet all the main producers from the region in two concentrated days, learning about their wine, their culture and their history. In Beaujolais, 75 buyers will meet 55 producers – something they could never achieve alone.
Dominique, Beaujolais is a very famous brand. So why does it make sense for you to participate in this kind of promotional event?
We are very well known for Beaujolais Nouveau, which sells 25 million bottles in just a few days. That’s very important to us, but people around the world don’t know much about other superb wines such as Fleurie, Morgon and Chenas. We want to rebuild our image, so Vinexpo Explorer comes at a very good time for us. We have created a new strategy to tell the Beaujolais story, which is based around three categories – wines for parties, wines to go with food and ‘exceptions’, wines that have some unique, personal or special characteristic.
Paul, what is the structure of the event?
It is a very concentrated 2.5 days that starts with a casual welcome on Sunday night. The real activity starts on Monday morning with a masterclass, where buyers are given the key facts they need. Then, after ve hours of wine tasting, they decide which wines they are interested in buying. On Tuesday, they have business meetings where they sign contracts. There are also opportunities for visits to vineyards and dinner in this important gastronomic region.
Paul, how do you select the buyers?
Beaujolais gave us a wishlist of countries and explained the kind of sectors they were interested in. We then selected buyers from our database that we know are a good match for Beaujolais’s objectives, some big companies, but also some smaller specialist firms. We have buyers from around 28 nations. There are a few French buyers, but only ones that are connected to new forms of digital distribution.
Dominique, what markets are you targeting?
We have decided to focus mainly on developed economies, and also the fast-growing China market. The US, UK, Japan and Canada are priorities and also Germany. We used to do well in Germany but haven’t done much business there for years. We’d like to change that.
Photo: From left to right. Dominique Piron President of Inter Beaujolais,
Paul Marchais Event & partnership manager Vinexpo.