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We are pleased to offer a special treat for this year’s Wine Executive Program attendees!
On Thursday evening, the Confucius Institute at UC Davis is hosting a gala dinner following their symposium “Understanding Jiu: The History and Culture of Alcoholic Beverages in China.” The dinner ticket price includes a special tasting of many different Chinese jiu, a Chinese-style sit-down dinner, and a short program with remarks by Wente Family Estates Vice President for International Sales Michael Parr addressing marketing wine to China.
Thursday night is a “free night” on the Wine Executive Program schedule, built into the program to give participants a chance to explore Davis, eat at a restaurant of their choice, and network. This event perfectly complements the already action-packed week of learning about the business and science of winemaking. If participants choose to enhance their Wine Executive Program experience by attending this dinner and discussion around marketing wine in China, they are encouraged to buy their tickets soon. The event is sure to sell out.
With fewer than five weeks until the 15th annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program, a limited number of seats are still available.
The innovative program, a partnership between the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Department of Viticulture and Enology, teaches the fundamentals of winemaking and wine industry management skills, from grape to bottle.
World-renowned university faculty join with industry experts to deliver a comprehensive program tailored for middle and senior managers from wineries and vineyards of all sizes, industry suppliers, distributors, financial institutions, service providers and those considering a career in the wine industry.
“The wine industry is dynamic and complex,” says Angela Stopper, director of executive education at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “Each year we refine the program to make it better, stronger, more relevant.”
New this year, the program provides participants the opportunity to put the classroom learning into practice, working in small groups on a custom business case. Another new session will explore the consolidating wine distribution landscape.
Proven Track Record
Since the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the Department of Viticulture and Enology partnered to create the Wine Executive Program in 2000, it has drawn more than 800 participants and become the premier professional development program for the industry. Attendees have come from all facets of the wine business and from all major wine-making regions, including 27 U.S. states, France, England, Italy, Australia, China, Chile, Argentina, South Korea, Japan, Canada and the Philippines.
The program offers engaging discussion about wine industry best practices coupled with opportunities to build a lasting network. Seasoned industry professionals, newcomers and individuals considering a career change to the world of wine all find value in the program.
“The curriculum provided a look at many of today’s pertinent industry trends, our challenges, and exciting new and future innovations,” said Dave Magnasco, director of grower relations at Constellation Brands. “It was spot-on for today’s wine business challenges, creating a lot of provoking thoughts and challenging questions from both the participants and presenters.”
“I was most impressed with the finance talks, as these offered a different perspective to traditional winery and vineyard accounting,” said Sean McKenzie, senior winemaker at The Dreaming Tree.
Sponsors of this year’s program include Trinchero Family Estates, Wente Family Estates, Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Cakebread Cellars, Constellation Brands, American AgCredit, Delicato Family Vineyards, Union Bank, and Crimson Wine Group.
Cost for the full, four and a half-day program, including the Boot Camp, is $4,800. The fee without the Boot Camp is $4,300.
To register or for more information: www.wineexecutiveprogram.com.
UC Davis Graduate School of Management, (530) 752-7240, firstname.lastname@example.org
With shifts in consumer demographics, scarce water and stiff competition in the global beverage market, how will wine industry leaders adapt to this time of great change and position their businesses for a successful future?
The landscape presents opportunities and pitfalls for every player in the wine industry. Against this backdrop, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Department of Viticulture and Enology will host the 15th annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program March 22-27 on campus.
“Now more than ever, industry professionals—and those who service or want to enter the business—need the skills and techniques they will learn in the UC Davis Wine Executive Program. From financial analysis to new marketing methods to advances in viticulture and winemaking, this program drives results.” says Professor Emeritus Robert Smiley, director of wine industry programs and a former dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.
Blending the business and science of winemaking, the professional development course focuses on the knowledge and skills that are critical to success in making and selling wine.
Led by renowned UC Davis faculty and expert guest lecturers, the four-day program includes in-depth sessions on financial management, the latest grape growing and wine research, marketing and branding, cost analysis and control, legal issues, and best practices for managing modern winery and vineyard operations.
An optional half-day boot camp kicks off the curriculum, offering industry newcomers—and those looking for a refresher—a choice of primers on the fundamentals of accounting and finance, or grape growing and winemaking. New this year, the program has added an action learning project, allowing attendees even more time to take what is learned in the program and make an immediate impact on their business, plus a discussion on navigating the consolidating distribution landscape.
Sessions will be held in the Graduate School of Management’s Gallagher Hall, and at the nearby Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to visit the institute’s experimental vineyard and tour the world’s first LEED Platinum winery. The UC Hyatt Place Hotel at UC Davis located directly behind Gallagher Hall offers accommodations just steps away from the classroom.
Since the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the Department of Viticulture and Enology partnered to create the Wine Executive Program in 2000, it has drawn over 800 professionals and become the premier professional development program for the industry. Attendees have come from all facets of the wine business and from all major wine making regions of the world, including 27 U.S. states, France, England, Italy, Australia, China, Chile, Argentina, South Korea, Japan, Canada and the Philippines.
By attracting such a broad mix national and international participants, the program offers engaging discussion about wine industry best practices and valuable networking experiences that endure long after the program.
Sponsors of this year’s program include Trinchero Family Estates, Wente Family Estates, Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Cakebread Cellars and Constellation Brands. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those interested. Details are available on the program website: www.wineexecutiveprogram.com.
The registration fee for the full, four and a half-day program including the Boot Camp is $4,800. The fee without the Boot Camp is $4,300. Register before January 30, 2015, and save $200. Special pricing is also available for multiple registrants for the same company.
For more details on the curriculum and faculty, or to register, visit www.wineexecutiveprogram.com.
UC Davis Graduate School of Management
Angela Stopper, 530-752-7240
Jun 23, 2014By Dr. Angela Stopper, UC Davis Executive Education, Graduate School of Management
Earlier this month, UC Davis Executive Education at the Graduate School of Management brought together over 80 participants for our inaugural Wine Packaging Strategy: Decide, Design, Impress program. To bring an interactive element to the program, we asked participants to bring wine products that “spoke to them” through packaging. Over 40 products were entered in our contest, representing a huge cross-section of wines and packages. The winners were chosen the old fashioned way, with each program attendee (participants and speakers alike) getting a vote. Now we’d like to share the results with you. Which packages would get your vote?
Wine: The Collector’s Pinot Noir 2012 Sta. Rita Hills
Price Point: $110.00
Description: The Collector’s Pinot Noir is a traditional Pinot from an estate vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. It is presented in a hand-blown glass bottle with a hand-made paper label printed on a manual letterpress. The cork is sealed with estate-harvested bees wax. This package is art incarnate, and we’re told the wine inside is as lovely as the package.
Wine: Bolle di Lambrusco To You Bianco – Cantina Ceci
Price Point: $19.00
Description: A wine bottle blackboard…who would have guessed it possible! This lambrusco is not only a great tasting sparkling wine, but is also lets you decorate the bottle to suit any occasion! It even comes with the chalk and eraser already attached.
Wine: California Square Red Paso
Price Point: $15.00
Description: This bottle is not only more space efficient than standard round bottles, it looks totally cool! The elegantly etched square bottle begs for re-use and display, and is easy to find on a shelf full of other wine choices. Walk into a store and say, “Direct me to the square one, Sir!” There won’t be any confusion over which you’re looking to purchase.
Description: According to legend, three wine merchants came to the town of Zell (in Germany) to buy wine. They narrowed their choice to three barrels, but they couldn’t agree on which was best. A black cat suddenly jumped on one of the barrels, arched its back and swiped its paw at anyone who tried to get close. They quickly chose the barrel so obstinately defended by the cat, thinking that it probably contained the best wine. If your bottle can tell a story, fantastic. And if it can appeal to the millions of kitty cat lovers in the wine aisle, even better! Another bottle that begs to be reused after the wine is long gone.
Wine: Sofia Blanc de Blancs
Price Point: $18.00
Description: How do you capture the beautiful color and sparkle of Sofia Blanc de Blancs when you can’t see the wine? Easy, you make the can you put it in (yes, that’s right…we said CAN) beautifully colorful and sparkly as well. Each pink can even comes with its own straw for sipping, so you can take it anywhere and enjoy it everywhere (responsibly, of course).
Wine: Maize Valley Mad Cow
Price Point: $10.00
Description: Before making wine at Maize Valley, the family was in the dairy farming industry and owned about 130 cows. When the last of the dairy herd was sold, proceeds from the sale were invested into the current business and vineyard. To pay tribute to the history and family legacy, “Edith”, a real cow owned by the family, was pictured on the label of Mad Cow wine. Edith produced over 100,000 gallons of milk in her lifetime, so we figured she could use a drink, and this fun bottle design would certainly get any cow’s attention!
Wine: Fetzer Crimson Red Blend
Price Point: $10.00
Description: Fetzer broke new ground by presenting its crimson red blend in a 187 mL Zipz Glass, giving us all the opportunity to enjoy this wine anywhere. Never again will you need to remember your cork screw and wine glasses while packing for a camping trip. Of course, as with all innovation, not everyone loves the outcome. Some say the wine oxidizes too quickly in this package, damaging the shelf life of this otherwise tasty wine.
Wine: Director’s Cut Wine from Francis Ford Coppola
Price Point: $27.00
Description: Every bottle of Coppola’s Director’s Cut wine pays homage to the history of filmmaking with its wraparound label designed after a Zoetrope strip, one of the earliest moving picture devices. Each label is also a replica of a strip from Francis’s personal Zoetrope collection. Talk about stealing the show when it comes to a label making a bottle jump off of the shelf! Bravo; Encore!
Description: Reserva Heredad is Segura Viudas’ crown jewel sparkling wine. The packaging has a distinctly old-world style, giving a nod to the winery’s medieval heritage. And talk about making a bottle of wine look fancy. Who wouldn’t want to unwrap a bottle of this bubbly at their wedding or for a graduation celebration? This wine’s package presents it as ultra high end, despite the wine’s reasonable price point.
Wine: Diamond Collection Black Label Claret from Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Price Point: $27.00
During the program, Corey Beck told the story of how this wine came to be netted. Suffice it to say, when the artist has an idea, no one wants to be the roadblock to his creativity. Instead, the team must work to make the creative idea a profitable one. They’ve succeeded here, with the gold net taking Coppola’s Claret to the #1 spot for Cabernet Sauvignon sold in the US over $15 per bottle!
Wine: Stack Wines California Chardonnay
Price Point: $12.99
Description: Sharable and chic, this wine is packaged in snap-apart “glasses”made of recyclable plastic. It’s like Legos for grown-ups, because the four individually sealed wine cups snap apart and back together again just like the blocks! Easy to transport, and safe to take just about anywhere, this is another example of giving the consumer what we want, wine you can share anywhere.
Description: Truett-Hurst give us the perfect gift, an already gift-wrapped bottle of wine! By wrapping these bottles in vibrant, foil-like paper designed to help consumers pair wines with special occasions, one tedious step in the gift giving process is eliminated. Even better, buy the supper club wine and never had a lull in dinner conversation again, because the paper is printed with party games.
Did you pick your winner? If you were invited to participate in a contest like this, what product would you bring?
If you make packaging or branding and marketing decisions, this is a dialogue in which you need to have a voice! Expect to show up at the program with your sleeves rolled up, ready to make some serious decisions about your packaging.
We’ve added some major heavy hitters to the roster of this innovative new un-conference. There is no other event where so many industry thought leaders will gather to discuss the very latest trends in wine packaging:
Teresa Mengali, Production Manager for Truett-Hurst, Inc., is the brain behind PaperBoy Wine
John Conover, General Manager/Partner at Cade Estate Winery, Odette Estate Winery, and Plumpjack Estate Winery, is responsible for White House favorite PlumpJack Reserve Chardonnay
Robert Dyer, Merchandise Director of the Pacific Division for Walmart Stores Inc., is responsible for store layout and strategic merchandizing initiatives
Patrick Merrill, Cofounder and General Partner of Merrill Research, is a research expert in the wine and alcoholic beverage industries
It’s time to bring the bottle to the table, so to speak. We’re inviting participants to bring along their wine (or someone else’s) with packaging that they feel will inspire. Throughout the program, we’ll collect votes and name the winner, who will get a fun UC Davis-themed prize!
For more information on the program, you’re encouraged visit our website or contact Angela Stopper, by email or by calling (530) 752-7240.
Wines & Vines
Wines & Vines is presenting a technical Wine Packaging Program on August 20 in Napa, California. The program includes a trade show and emphasizes the technical how-to aspects of improving a winery’s packaging. Wines & Vines and the UC Davis Graduate School of Management have partnered to cross promote their complementary wine packaging events this year.
Jordan Kivelstadt is the Founder and CEO of Free Flow Wines. He founded Free Flow Wines with Dan Donahoe in 2009, and has been leading the growth of the business since the beginning. He has made wine in four countries, founded his own bottle brand, Kivelstadt Cellars, manages his family’s organic 10-acre Sonoma County, California vineyard and continues to innovate in the industry he loves.
The most valuable asset we have in the wine business is our brand. Its integrity, reputation and associations are what we strive to build and then leverage to grow. So, with the changing demographics of the people buying our products, and rising cost pressures, we are often posed with the question, “Should I explore an alternative package?”
This can be as simple as changing from cork to screw-caps, or as life altering as launching in Tetra. But if you think clearly about what your goals are before launching a new product, it will help you identify which is right for your brand and what the next steps ought to be.
First, let’s discuss the goals of an alternative package. They include:
Appealing to new audiences: Your current brand and packaging model may preclude (be it price, perception, or physical limitations) certain audiences. For example, glass is a challenge for the outdoorsy mid-twenties demographic. Aoft packages might be a more appealing choice.
Increasing profitability: In an ever-consolidating market, there is increased pressure on the bottom line, which means we all need to find new ways to compete. There is major value in choosing an alternative closure or package that reduces overall packaging costs and help you get to market more cost effectively.
Access to new sales channels: Your current package may limit the channels you can access (big box retail vs. independents). A new package definitely has the potential to open a new channel.
Reinforcing brand messaging: A bottle provides a limited area for branding (the label and capsule), so will an alternative package increase your branding options, allowing you to tell your story more convincingly?
There are a lot of packages to choose from: Kegs, Pouches, Cans, Tetrapaks – the list of options goes on and on. Each of these is different in its perception in the market, capabilities, and opportunities. What is important to remember is that 83% of Millennials (according to a recent study) trust and purchase a comparable product with a green message, so remember, “green” is important to consider when making a packaging decision.
As you look at the options and consider the goals outlined above, I recommend the following next steps:
Talk to your customers and wholesalers: These are the people that buy your products. I’m not saying that they know everything, but getting their opinions can save you a lot of pain (and money!).
Look at the options: Weigh the pros and cons of each package. Look at their positioning in the market and whether that aligns with your goals in launching an alternative package.
Come up with a strong and cohesive go-to-market strategy: This is often overlooked as we launch a new product. Start with focused markets, and learn from the successes and failures in those markets before launching a product nationally.
Find the right partners: The best way to launch a new package is to find the most excited distributors and retailers to launch with you. This may seem obvious, but if you can’t find a retail and distribution partner that is excited enough to launch the product with you, you may want to reconsider. Another key to remember, a short exclusive period really helps test a new product.
If you are interested in putting your product in kegs, please check out FreeFlowWines.com for more information. I’ll be presenting more thoughts on this and other topics at Wine Packaging Strategy: Decide, Design, Impress at UC Davis on June 4th. I’ll be participating on a panel with other forward thinking industry leaders to discuss cutting edge topics and debate where the industry is going to be going in the future. Register today, and I hope to see you there.
Author of the new best-selling book Unraveling the Mysteries of Marketing, Jeffrey Slater is the Global Director of Marketing for Nomacorc, the leading brand of still wine closures with 2.3 billion corks sold in 2013 and the recently launched sugar cane-based Select Bio. He was most recently the EVP of Marketing for the snack food division at ConAgra Foods. He writes a popular marketing blog called MomentsSlater.
At its core, packaging is truly about creating an emotional connection with your customer. It’s not enough to be top of mind; being center of heart should be a priority as well. It’s integral to find a way to tell that story, because packaging is about so much more than form and function. It’s about the way you create an emotional experience around a package and tie it in to an overarching brand journey.
How do I know if my packaging is great or if I’ve missed the mark?
What people say versus what they do can be dramatically different. If you ask: “Why did you pick up this product as opposed to the other three on the shelf?” more often than not, the customer won’t be able to articulate the reason. That’s because 90% of their reasoning might be unconscious, and therefore based on emotion.
There’s a great book called Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience can Empower and Inspire Marketing by Douglas Van Praet. He explores the concept of breaking expected patterns to garner customer’s attention. In doing the research around this, he learned that the best way to draw conclusions about consumer behavior wasn’t though dialogue- it was through observation.
Don’t directly ask: “Which is the better package, and why?” The best way to find out which packaging is superior is to put it on the shelf. Watch customers’ eye movement, what they gravitate toward, what they pick off the shelf and other visual cues through body language. Observing customer behavior in the wild is key to making the right decisions for your product.
Is it to my benefit to go super-experimental with my packaging to stand out from the crowd?
In my opinion, the objective isn’t to go for shock value for the sake of attention. Pay close attention to your brand story and the journey you’re trying to map for the consumer. How can you interrupt the pattern that they expect to surprise and delight them, yet remain consistent with the brand messaging and journey?
In the wine industry in particular, we find that on the whole packaging has a tremendous amount of common elements that don’t break that pattern- glass bottles in a traditional shape, with inner sealed closures, etc. People typically want to operate in a very safe zone, and very rarely do they color outside the lines. Most products have traditional packaging, so it can be surprising when a wine brand truly stands out. I encourage more companies to be more experimental and creative, but only if it is in alignment with their brand experience.
What elements of packaging are most often overlooked and underutilized?
There’s great value in paying attention to the senses beyond sight. In particular, decisions around smell, texture and sound should be considered. Most people don’t realize that a can of Dr. Pepper versus a Coke versus a Pepsi all have different tones and sounds to the pop when the can is opened. It’s a very subtle element of the experience, but it certainly plays a role when it comes to solidifying that emotional connection. The familiar pop of an inner sealed closure from a favorite bottle of wine can reinforce a customer’s appreciation of a familiar and beloved ritual, and that value should not be underestimated.
Aroma functions in a similar way to reinforce brand loyalty. For example, for years my wife and I have been buying scented garbage bags, which I think is an incredibly smart product. It disguises the odor of trash for a time, and it’s a really clever idea. As a result, I only buy that brand and I only buy one particular scent because it connects to me. The aroma reinforces my strong appreciation of the product, and it plays a major role in turning me into a loyal customer.
What type of packaging tickles your fancy? I’d love to hear from you, but even better, I prefer to see! I welcome you to post snapshots of your favorite (wine or non-wine) packaging on Twitter or Instagram using the #WineExec hashtag so we can all be inspired by some of the great creative work out there.
I love discussing topics around the intersection between packaging, branding, and marketing, and I’m looking forward to presenting at Wine Packaging Strategy: Decide, Design, Impress at UC Davis on June 4th. I’ll be breaking down ten ways how wine packaging creates emotional bonds with consumers, and how wine businesses can leverage those lessons in making decisions for their products. Register today, and I hope to see you there.
Corey Beck is the Director of Winemaking and General Manager of Francis Ford Coppola Winery. From their hands-on techniques in the vineyards to their valuable winemaking goals and analytical feedback, Corey and his team are often regarded as leaders in the wine industry, known for their innovative and engaging approach to their network of 150+ grape growers.
When it comes to adventures in wine packaging, Coppola is on the forefront in creating vessels of uncommon design. The (now-famous) Sofia, a sparkling Blanc de Blancs, was presented in a miniature can with straws attached. But perhaps most recognizable and most successful is our best-selling Black Label Claret, packaged in gold netting.
“Upon taking possession of the property, we found some very old bottles of wine, including a 1906 Claret. I didn’t really know what Claret was, and soon gathered it was the British name for wines from Bordeaux, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon blends.
Despite opposition, I felt strongly about creating a red blend and calling it Claret. I designed a new label that was inspired by the old 1906 bottle of Claret I had admired, a Diamond Collection Black Label Claret, which is our company’s most recognized offering.” - Francis Ford Coppola
About five years ago, Francis came to us and said he wanted to upgrade the package and make it the flagship of the Diamond series. He walked into the meeting and had the Claret bottle with a beautiful gold net around it and said, “this is how I want Claret to look in the market place.”
It’s a premium wine at a popular price and it has set the bar for the quality of the entire brand. The bottle is distinguished with gold netting in order to convey its prestigious status, a tribute to the way Europe’s finest wines were once presented.
The trick was putting the net on the bottle. We found a machine in France engineered for the singular purpose of putting nets on bottles. Before we knew it, we owned two machines and the rest is history.
The imaginative, evocative packaging is certainly successful on a creative level, but people wonder: how much is it helping to sell the wine, and how do you measure that, either quantitatively or qualitatively? People respond to packaging, but it won’t get them to buy a second bottle if they didn’t enjoy the first. Our sales have risen, so the packaging/wine/value combination is obviously working. However, it sometimes takes time for something very new to find its audience.
Ultimately, the Claret is now the largest-selling Cabernet Sauvignon sold in America over $15 dollars. The net really helps the wine stand out and the consumer feels like they’re getting an ultra-premium package for a really great price.
If you’ve seen the gold netting on the Black Label Claret or the Sofia canned wine and wondered, “How did Coppola come up with that?”, now is your chance to find out the answer to that question and much more! Corey Beck will present a “living case study” during our Wine Packaging Program: Decide, Design, Impress. Hear directly what went well, what could have gone better, and the unexpected obstacles that needed to be overcome. Register today!
What does the winery of the future look like? How do you market and brand your wine to differentiate it from the thousands of other competitors on the market? What cutting edge industry research is available to help you guide your wine business decisions? These are just a few of the questions discussed by participants of the 14th Annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program.
Over the course of the four-day program, we covered a lot of ground.
Combining Business Theory with Hands-On Expertise
Participants were presented with a well-balanced mix of business theory and research combined with a true “feet on the street” perspective of industry leaders who have lived it.
“The UC Davis Wine Executive program was a great experience on several levels. It served as a great introduction to the wine industry as a whole. The materials were well presented and encompassing of where the wine industry is today and where it will be in the future”
Owner, Gerrity’s Supermarkets
Gaining “In the Field” Knowledge with Facilities Tours
Participants were thrilled with the opportunity to visit and be exposed to the most cutting-edge wine production technology in the world during a tour of the first winery with a LEED Platinum certification. Additionally, participants experienced:
An in-depth tour of the UC Davis research vineyard, providing lessons on everything from planting to grape arboring to pest mitigation
A look at some of the new winery facilities currently under construction on the UC Davis campus, which will bring research teams even further along the path of creating the winery of the future
Along with academic learning came numerous opportunities for networking during the many social activities included in the program.
An informal wine tasting event, allowing participants the opportunity to share wine from their own wineries and collections
Connecting on social media before and after the event through an exclusive Wine Executive Program LinkedIn Group
Numerous evening and dinner events, giving individuals time to enjoy each other’s company, and experience the variety and excellence of each other’s wine
Even more important than the networking events were the participants themselves, representing an incredible cross section of wine industry professionals.
Over 65 participants from California, New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Oregon, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, and Illinois, as well as international participants from Argentina, Japan, Canada and the Philippines.
An eclectic mix of attendees, including individuals from large and boutique wineries alike, established and start-up international wineries, and all positions from winemaker to sales.
“The attendees’ roles and personalities added greatly to the experience. All types of Wine industry players where present: Bankers, Sales, Marketing, Vineyard Managers, Winery Owners, etc. The networking opportunity created was the icing on the cake; a truly enjoyable 4 days.”
Sr. Director, Grower Relations, Constellation Brands
Thanks to everyone in the vibrant group who participated this year! We look forward to staying connected with all our new friends. Click here to stay in touch with future events associated with UC Davis Wine Executives or to be added to our mailing list.
When a sommelier – or your spouse or friend – ceremoniously pulls the cork on a bottle of wine, the aromas of flowers or fruit should fill the air. But sometimes the unmistakable funky reek of mold wafts out instead, the hallmark of a “corked” wine.
It is generally agreed that 3 to 5 percent of all bottles with natural corks show some spoilage. As a result, plenty of cork substitutes have filled the market, and screw caps are becoming more commonplace. This means there are now three primary ways in which wine bottles are sealed: natural corks, synthetic corks or screw caps. All have advantages and disadvantages, so let’s breakdown the widely recognized pros and cons of each:
Traditionalists claim that “real” corks allow healthy gas exchange for flavorful wine.
Some claim that good sources of natural cork are dwindling.
Not all natural corks are alike, resulting in variable cork properties.
Higher chance of “corked” wines and trichloroanisole (TCA) taint.
Synthetics close 60% of the top 500 wines (sold by volume) in the US.
There is an untrue perception that synthetic corks let too much air into the wine bottle. They actually help regulate and manage oxygen.
Injection molded closures were so hard to take out of the bottle that most of those companies are out of business. Co-extruded synthetics can easily be extracted or reinserted into a wine bottle.
Less chance that wines will be “corked,” and probably fewer tainted wines.
Some say that air-tight screw caps are “suffocating” to wines.
Still considered by some to be the hallmark of a cheaper product.
Getting the real story:
To help winemakers determine the best caps for their wine bottles, researchers here at UC Davis are studying the performance and the variability within different types of closures. They are evaluating 600 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc wine, each sealed with natural cork, screw caps or synthetic cork. Their goal is to determine whether consumers can taste the difference in wines bottled and capped under the exact same conditions.
The study will monitor changes in the wine during aging, culminating in a sensory evaluation to determine if wine experts and consumers can taste the different levels of oxidation that occur in the wine due to variability within each type of closure.
Interested in learning the outcome of this study? Join us June 3 – 4 for Wine Packaging Strategy: Decide, Design, Impress to gain access to cutting edge research like the closures study, along with newly developed insights and tools from esteemed academic and industry professionals. Participate in curated conversations about key topics such as consumer behavior, market fads and trends, closures, sustainability and branding while extending your network of wine executives. Contact us with questions about the program!
Neeraj Singh is a former Associate Client Manager in the Alcohol and Beverage Division at Nielsen, a leading global information company which provides market research, insights & data about what people watch & what people buy. While there, he collected data from retailers and consumers for wine industry clients to provide insights to their marketers and sales teams. In this interview with UC Davis Executive Education, he sheds light on the hottest trends in the industry.
Neeraj, Nielsen data demonstrates that higher end beverages lead growth in all categories. Will this trend continue in the future?
The data we’ve collected reflects that over the last 52 weeks, consumers are becoming more comfortable switching up to a higher price point. This demonstrates increased consumer confidence overall, because the economy is certainly improving. Back in 2010, there was a lot of deep discounting of the higher end brands, but that’s not happening any longer.
However, I’d like to clarify the definition of “higher end” wines. Pre-2008, there were several groups of consumers buying wines over $20, which slowed after the recession. People are still judicious with their spending, but they’re moving from the $15 price point to a $20 plus price point. That higher range is definitely coming back, and it’s majorly leading growth.
Your data reflects that females count for well over half of wine consumption—about 55%. What does this mean for wine marketers?
It’s true that women have played a very large role in the success of the wine industry. There are producers that are really taking advantage of this fact, like Little Black Dress or the Skinny brand. One brand that has been particularly successful is Middle Sister, due to their branding and their phenomenal social media marketing program. It’s important for marketers to focus on the female demographic, but their methods have yet to be perfected.
It’s challenging for marketers in the wine industry to reach the female audience, because much of their budget is targeted towards trade marketing, so they can get on the shelf first (or gain better shelf space/promotion weeks). As a result marketing to the consumer is not as strong anymore.
An interesting example of alternative packaging aimed at women was done by Vernissage, which puts “boxed” wine into a “purse”. This shows that packaging has certainly been evolving to target certain demographics, but again we have yet to gather enough data to learn if it’s truly successful.
Packaging and branding are huge topics right now- what’s working and what isn’t?
This is a topic which is still evolving and many suppliers are launching and extending their current brands in this space. For example, E&J Gallo has launched “Naked Grape” in the 3L Box category and traditional brands like Lindeman’s has also launched its own 3L Boxed wine which is having success. Several brands have been experimenting with different packaging as a way to stand out on the store shelf. For example, the Sofia brand sells wine in pink cans, and the Bandit brand packages their wine in small, sustainable one liter and 500 ml cartons. Preliminary research suggests that many of these brands are doing well, but the traditional wine in a 750 ml glass bottle still continues to dominate.
How are millennials impacting the market?
In the last few years, millennials have stormed the wine market. Millennials above the legal drinking age drank 25.7% of wine by volume in the U.S. in 2012, higher than the global average of 20.6% but significantly less than the 41.4% of volume consumed by those age 55 or older in the U.S.. There are 62 million millennials of legal drinking age in the U.S., and in two years another eight million will turn 21. Millennials represent 30% of core drinkers, or people who drink wine at least once a week, and the industry needs to attract these younger consumers.
Millennials are adopting wine at a faster rate than any other generation. They have very little brand loyalty because they love to experiment; tasting different kinds of wine from various regions appeals greatly to their sense of adventure.
In terms of marketing to millennials, this audience prefers authentic experiences and hip, modern packaging and due to their use of social media, they rely on word of mouth recommendations from their friends rather than from industry professionals.
The wine market is an ever-changing beast; what was “in” one day is “out” the next year. Considering the high competition rate in this market, it’s more critical than ever for wine executives to stay on top of current trends through executive education.
Brian Lechner, Vice President of Professional Services at The Nielsen Company will present detailed consumer trends in the wine industry for wine executives during our Wine Packaging Program: Decide, Design, Impress, June 3-4. Participants will gain newly developed insights and tools from esteemed professionals and participate in interactive workshops focused on three topic areas: Package Design, Consumer Trends, and Future State. Register today!
In its 14th year, the UC Davis Wine Executive Program is uniquely designed to teach the fundamentals of winemaking and management skills necessary to be profitable in today’s challenging and dynamic wine industry. Sessions are tailored to help industry leaders grow their businesses by expanding on such topics as building one’s financial acumen and expanding a company’s current marketing and branding strategies.
In addition, participants will be exposed to the latest state-of-the-art technologies and processes for making and selling wine as demonstrated in the new LEED platinum winery at the Department of Viticulture and Enology. Participants will develop relationships with other key wine industry leaders that will continue long after the program ends.
Want to learn more about the Wine Executive Program? Check out this video featuring our workshops, opportunities to connect, participant profile, accolades, and more!
Despite long-term concerns about climate change and regulatory pressures, California wine industry leaders are once again quite bullish about the wine business, according to two new surveys conducted by the University of California, Davis.
Findings from the surveys of wine executives and industry professionals will be presented at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, during the Wine Industry Financial Symposium at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, Calif.
“The wine industry, by and large, has weathered the worst of the economic downturn of this decade,” said Robert Smiley, professor and dean emeritus of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.
“The CEOs and professionals who participated in these surveys expressed a growing confidence in the future of traditional brands and optimism for the expanding global market,” he said.
“And, to varying degrees, they are interested in exploring new products to meet the demands of the millennial generation and increasing their use of social media in their marketing strategies.”
Smiley has surveyed wine executives for each of the last 12 years and winemakers for 22 years. The surveys examine global and national trends in the wine industry. They complement other wine research and teaching at UC Davis, home for more than 100 years to the most comprehensive university wine program in the United States.
Survey of wine executives
In this 12th annual wine executives survey, Smiley gathered the opinions and projections from the heads of 28 leading wineries.
Now that the economy is rebounding, brand and quality are having more of an impact than price on consumer purchases, the respondents reported. They noted that even during the more difficult economic years, many consumers who were accustomed to the more expensive, higher-quality brands continued to purchase those wines; they simply bought less of them.
As the economy recovers, consumers will continue to make luxury wine purchases, but those will be well reasoned, rather than “frivolous luxury” purchases, one executive predicted.
Asked how firms are vying for the attention of the millennial generation, in light of competition from craft beers and craft cocktails, the executives offered mixed responses. Some reported that they or their competitors are developing new products by adding flavors, carbonation or even spirits to regular wine.
“It’s a great opportunity to experiment with the millennials because they are focused on things like authenticity and some integrity,” said one respondent. “They love to discover things.”
Others respondents said they are not creating such “pop products,” but rather are continuing to innovate in terms of how they source grapes and make wine, with an emphasis on quality.
Most respondents voiced keen interest in international market expansion in a variety of regions including Asia, South and Central America, Europe, Canada, Russia and even Africa.
Several respondents reported that their firms are cautiously eyeing the massive Chinese market, but with significant concerns about its stability. One executive found Japan to be a far stronger market than China, noting that Japanese wine consumers “have been buying Napa Valley wines for a long time and have a preference for those luxury items… .”
In the area of social media, the executives reported that their businesses use a variety of services, including Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest and Trip Advisor. Special online offerings include live tastings and streaming video. And, they are training their employees on the importance of product quality and customer service, especially in an era when consumers’ likes and dislikes are so quickly and broadly shared with the online community.
Identifying hot topics for the next five to 10 years, the survey respondents said they are most concerned about the effects of climate change; environment-related regulatory pressures; and the availability and cost of labor, land and water.
Survey of wine professionals
Smiley’s survey of California wine professionals, now in its 22nd year, gathered the opinions of 110 wine industry leaders. Most of the survey respondents represent wine companies; others are from operations that range from wineries to grape-growing and wine-distribution firms to financial institutions.
The survey respondents overwhelmingly predicted that the greatest opportunities for the wine industry will be found in increasing direct sales to consumers; followed by consumers “trading up” in terms of the price and quality of their purchases, increased wine sales, and the new market that is evolving as the millennial generation comes of age.
They project that during the next three years, California wine sales will receive their greatest boost from an improved economy and increased consumer confidence, followed by rising direct sales to consumers, improvements in value for price, and large or above-average wine-grape crops.
On the other hand, they anticipate that the greatest hurdles for the California wine industry during the next three years will be higher input costs and slow economic recovery, followed by limited water availability and “margin compression” — a decline in the margin of revenues compared to costs.
The respondents predict that over the next three years, the strongest white wine varietals will be chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio, while the strongest red wines will be cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and red blends.
They anticipate the strongest growth in sales will be among wines in the $10-$14 per-bottle range, followed closely by the $14-$20 range.
About the UC Davis Graduate School of Management
Dedicated to preparing innovative leaders for global impact, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the premier business schools in the United States and internationally.
The school’s faculty members are globally renowned for their teaching excellence and pioneering research in advancing management thinking and best practices. With prime locations in Northern California’s economic hubs, the school provides a bold, innovative approach to management education to more than 550 full-time MBA students and Master of Professional Accountancy students at the UC Davis campus, and part-time MBA students in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. More information about the school is available online at: <http://gsm.ucdavis.edu/>.
About UC Davis
For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world.
Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science.
It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
Wayne Batwin is the President of PRIME Market Access International, a management consulting firm. He has more than 34 years of experience in international food and agriculture research and policy, marketing, and market development. Batwin recently retired from the Foreign Agriculture Service of USDA, where from 2006 to 2010 he was the Director of Agricultural Trade Office at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China.
The Chinese market is going through fundamental changes at the consumer level. People are optimistic about their futures and have more income, and they’re looking for new ways to spend. Entertaining and drinking with friends is part of Chinese social culture, and as a result, there’s been a recent boom of growth in the wine market in China. Wine is widely considered good for health in comparison to traditional spirits, which have much higher alcohol content. Furthermore, red is a lucky color in China, so the consumption of red wine has a leg up over Chinese liquors.
The domestic grape wine industry in China is only 20 years old. For the most part, the domestic industry is making low quality, low cost wines. They’re still learning how to make a range of wine qualities given the climate and soil they have for growing grapes. This knowledge will take more time to acquire. Therefore, with consumer demand up, the import market for high quality wines has been expanding rapidly.
The overall market for wine has grown at about 20% per year in the last ten years, and the import market has grown even faster. When I arrived in China in 2006, the market size was around 53 million dollars for imported wine from all sources. In 2012 – just six short years later – the market had risen to $1.6 billion. In terms of the market breakdown, domestically produced wine controls about 70% of the total wine business, and imports make up about 30%.
American Wineries: Getting Your Foot in the Door
American wine producers currently have about a 4% market share of the import market, which is not very high in contrast to the French, who have a 52% market share. This is because they’ve spent over a decade investing in the Chinese wine market and promoting their wine culture and wine producing regions. As a result, when most Chinese think about imported wines, the first country that comes to mind is France. The U.S. is simply not on most people’s radar. In fact, most people aren’t aware that the U.S. makes wine and exports it to China.
At the same time, exports to China from the U.S. have been steadily increasing because the market is expanding quickly. In 2012, the value of our exports were almost at $80 million. We’re seeing a contradiction here- our exports keep going up, but our market share is still small. The market is growing so fast that even though our exports are increasing, we’re still losing market share because we’re not growing as fast as the market is.
For U.S. companies, the China wine market is often a very complex place. Distribution options are opaque. Many wineries have had negative experiences with China over the years, like only sending one small shipment never to hear from the distributor again, or shipping some wine and never getting paid. These horror stories have reverberated across the industry, and there’s a reluctance to proceed without an established local partner or well considered plan.
Having said all that, the opportunities for U.S. companies are still great. Chinese like working with Americans, and as they become more educated about our wines, they become ever more enthusiastic about selling them. Our job is to let it be known that we have wine available for export and that we’re interested in helping them develop the market. However, be conscious that it’s a long term endeavor. You’re not going to see immediate returns, and Chinese buying patterns can seem small in the beginning. But if you’re willing to develop the market and find the right distributor, it’s worth the investment in time, effort, and building the ever-important business relationship.
The luxury goods market in China has grown very quickly. In 2008, McKinsey estimated that the luxury goods market was about 8 billion dollars. The projected market size for 2015 is 27 billion dollars, and at that point China will become the number one market globally for luxury goods. A range of luxury goods are available in China today: consumable products like food, liquor and wine, furniture and housewares, clothing, and art.
In terms of wine, the super expensive wines were in increasing demand prior to the global recession. Favorites were famous labels from French Bordeaux and Burgundy. Chinese wine collectors were willing to pay very high prices, which peaked in 2009-2010. Since then, more rational pricing has been seen.
Keep in mind that the Chinese wine market is still immature. Until recently, there was a false impression that if you want the best wines, you had to spend thousands of dollars a bottle, which is simply not true. There’s a certain amount of training and education that needs to take place for individuals interested in wine. The headlines on these very expensive products captured people’s imaginations, but in the long run it, I believe we will see an increasing market for a range of different priced wines of different qualities.
UC Davis is hosting the annual Wine Executive Program March 23-27, 2014. Register now to learn more about winemaking, wine marketing, and the global wine market. Contact Managing Director of Executive Education, Wendy Beecham, for more details.
Robert Smiley is professor emeritus of management and served as dean of the Graduate School of Management from 1989 to 2003. He is co-director with David Block, Chair, Viticulture & Enology Program (V&E), of the UC Davis Wine Executive Program. This year’s program will be on March 24 -28, 2013.
The wine Symposium Group and I conduct a yearly survey of wine professionals to better understand industry trends. I presented the results of this survey at the 19th Annual Wine Industry Symposium in September. From this year’s data, we can conclude that the wine industry is definitely on an upswing in terms of consumer demand. People are buying more wine, both in volume and at higher price points. In the United States, there appears to be a very good grape crop this year with regards to quantity and quality.
That being said, the behavior is still markedly different from the wine-buying heydays of the mid-aught years. Five years ago, people were buying Napa Valley cabs and varietals almost with abandon. They were rushing to the latest hot vineyard or trendy winery, which is no longer the case.
The great recession has caused consumers to be more careful, and they’ve become more demanding with regard to quality and price point. That’s because in the interim during ’08, ’09, and ’10, they found some great wines at lower prices. In order to woo them back, higher-priced wineries need to deliver and demonstrate quality and make consumers aware of what they’re buying and why they should pay a premium.
It’s critical to note that although the outlook is rosy in the near term, there are definitely risks moving forward. There’s always the chance of another recession, and there’s a high probability that there might not be enough crops in the coming years to meet consumer demand. Europe, for instance, had the worst grape harvest in half a century.
Consumer Behavior and Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is a big issue when it comes to wine because of the sheer number of choices and stiff market competition. I don’t think you can lump all purchasers together in one way. Some are brand loyal – they’ve found the brand that works for them and they’re going to stay with it as long as they can afford to buy it
There’s also a strong variety-seeking behavior that’s very prevalent in the wine category, compared to almost any other category in the United States. These individuals are not brand loyal but prefer to experiment widely, deriving vicarious pleasure by buying wines from different countries if they can’t afford to travel there. They can’t afford to go to Chile, or Uruguay, or Argentina, but they can buy a taste of that country. It’s a low-cost way of getting an experience of that culture.
Linking Marketing Trends with Online Sales
Data from our survey demonstrated that wine professionals are increasingly using social media for marketing. Most cited Facebook, followed by Twitter, company blogs and LinkedIn as their preferred social media tools. Most wineries are trying to sell more wine online to defray distribution and retail costs.
What’s interesting to note is that the wine consumption is particularly high in the 20s and 30s age bracket. This is a generation that has taken to wine in a significant way, and the wine industry is very excited by this demographic shift. This means that because wine drinkers are younger, they’re more agile with regard to social media. That being the case, social media has to be a prominent focus for this competitive marketplace, because that’s exactly where the customers will be found.
Sunny Skies Ahead? The Future for Wine
I was just in a board meeting where a well-known wine maker remarked that this is a very good period for the wine industry. It’s not true that you can sell what you want, all you can make, at any price. However, you can have an easier time selling your more premium wines this year, as compared to last year and the year before.
The challenge now is deciding what to do for the future, knowing that you can actually afford to make some choices because you’re making some sales. Two or three years ago, wineries were desperate and unable to make strategic choices – now they can. The questions to ask are: How do you position yourself? What do you think about the future? What varietals do you plant? What long-term contracts with growers should you enter into? There’s a whole series of choices on the table as a result of a generally improving situation for winery owners.
Wine Executive Program 2013
All of these recent industry trends will be covered in the Wine Executive Program curriculum. My talk and some of the other workshops are very much keyed to what’s going on in the industry. We’ll also try to anticipate what some of the problems of the future will be.
On the other hand, curriculum regarding the science of grape growing and wine making will not be affected by short-term economic shifts. There’s an underlying structure and theory for some aspects of the program, including growing grapes, making wine, wine industry finance, and how to keep track of how you’re doing – those areas will not be altered. We’re very excited that for the first time, we’ll be guiding program participants through the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology research vineyard and winery to see where and how our cutting edge research is conducted.
It’s always important to consider that the wine industry has a uniquely challenging legal and regulatory environment. We’ll have a major session on that topic, taught this year by the General Counsel of Kendall Jackson, Michael Maher. He’ll bring a new perspective on the legal and regulatory challenges, which are many. Because of prohibition and its repeal, the alcoholic beverage industry is among the most regulated and strangely regulated industries. When prohibition was repealed, the federal government gave all regulatory powers to the states. If you want to make wine and sell it across the country, you’ve got fifty different legal environments to deal with. Maher will talk about those issues, which Kendall Jackson faces day in and day out.
Here at UC Davis Executive Education, we’re pleased to announce that registration for the Wine Executive Program 2013 is now open. The program will be held from March 24-28 at our Gallagher Hall Facility. Over the past twelve years, over 700 wine industry executives have attended this unique and informative program.
The program guides leaders in effectively navigating the vinology and business landscape of the wine industry. Sessions are tailored to help wine industry executives grow the success of their businesses, while introducing them to state-of-the-art technologies and processes for making and selling wine. Come away with a comprehensive financial and marketing plan for your wine business, and familiarize yourself with wine vernacular so you can talk the talk at industry events.
Who Should Attend?
Specifically designed to teach the fundamentals of winemaking and management skills necessary to be profitable in today’s challenging wine trade, the innovative program is tailored for middle and senior managers from wineries and vineyards of all sizes, industry suppliers, distributors, financial institutions, service providers and affiliated businesses.
In the past, the program has attracted wine industry decision-makers from 15 U.S. states, and five continents, including attendees from France, England, Italy, Australia, China, Chile, Argentina, South Korea and Canada. The international flavor of this program offers participants stimulating discussion about the wine business globally and valuable networks that endure long after the program.
Early Bird Pricing
The Wine Executive Program sells out every year, so we encourage participants to take advantage of early bird pricing to secure their spot in this limited-registration, hands-on event. Click here for a more in-depth breakdown of program fees and learn how you can save by registering earlier.
This year, we’ve updated functionalities of the event website to provide attendees with a better sense of what the program looks and feels like. For even more context, check out accolades from last year’s attendees, images from the event, and a recap blog we posted after the Wine Executive Program 2012.
For more information on how to join the 2013 Wine Executive Education Program please contact Managing Director Wendy Beecham.
Josh Camire is the Director of Digital Marketing and Communications at Jackson Family Wines.In this blog, he discusses how to humanize your wine brand, and toauthentically connect with your audiences on social platforms.
When it comes to connecting with any audience, but especially a social audience, the key is to humanize your brand. In doing that, a major obstacle marketers confront is some of the perceived snobbery that is deeply entrenched in the wine industry.
Wine has its own language – terminology and phrasing used exclusively by connoisseurs ‘in the know’. So when it comes to making your brand and your product more accessible, it’s important to choose wording that doesn’t alienate your consumers. While there is a place for those types of discussions, they should be reserved for the limited audience that responds and will self-select for those kinds of conversations.
The first step is to create shorthand, or a more common and approachable language about your product. The second step is to widen the lens and make the brand about more than just wine – make it about the experience, the story, and above all, the people.
Contemporary audiences are generally divorced from what they consume. We go into the grocery store and pick out protein, veggies, and wine without knowing anything about what we’re eating and drinking. Because of that, people love an opportunity to learn, connect, and better understand where the wine comes from, how it’s made, and especially who is making it.
Focusing on the human element is the most authentic way to show consumers what your company is all about. For example, we consistently promote the fact that Kendall-Jackson is family owned. It’s part of our DNA to tell the story of the family and above all the values of the family who owns and operates the company. We also tell the story of our extended family – the people who make up the company. That includes the farmers who care for and cultivate the land, the people who make sure the equipment is working, the office staff, the sales people all over the world, and even us here in the marketing and communications team. Everyone who plays a role in getting our product from grape to table is a part of our family, and they have a valuable place in the story we present every day.
Leveraging Opportunities: Undercover Boss
Earlier this year, the President of Kendall-Jackson was featured on the CBS show Undercover Boss. It was the perfect opportunity not only to introduce viewers to our management and company story, but also to showcase how our grapes are grown, and the different human personalities that make us successful.
A great example of this was a particular segment of the show focused on an employee named Rene. During the show he was cussing up a storm, knocking the company and knocking the customers – all without knowing he was talking to the Boss, Rick Tigner. Both during and after the show, Rick could have fired Rene, but he didn’t. In the narrative of the show there was a great moment when Rene realized who he’d been interacting with. In that moment, the ability of both Rick and Rene to come to an understanding while still maintaining their own individual personalities became an endearing moment. Everyone has an inner rebel and so the audience could relate to how difficult it was for these two men to find a common ground. The willingness of Kendall-Jackson to be part of that moment is the backbone of authentic branding, and the most legitimate way to build customer loyalty.
Transmedia storytelling is all about delivering relevant, interesting, accessible content in any format and at any time that your audience wants to consume it. In response to the Undercover Boss episode, we created a mobile site, a microsite, custom video content for our web properties, a YouTube channel and social content, and community management on Facebook and Twitter. We tried to provide the widest possible cross section of information and, most importantly, a narrative thread that was consistent across all platforms and interactions, yet uniquely tailored to leverage each specific community and following.
The Undercover Boss episode was all about family, and family is about legacy and wisdom, and preserving traditions and knowledge for future generations. We came up with a Words of Wisdom campaign to tie all the different threads together. The show was aired in January of this year, and just had its re-run on September 14. We’re still able to leverage that content on different channels. Both before and after the show, we have continued distilling our content, trying to get to the universal heart of the message.
In an effort to support our content marketing strategy further, we went out and shot impromptu videos at our wine center, asking people to share their own Words of Wisdom to be passed down in their family and community. There was some great footage of a firefighter from Dallas, Texas. The call to action was really about encouraging people to participate and share their own stories (through pictures, videos and narrative) that would ideally help them connect to a larger community.
Get Real: Strategies to Humanize Your Wine Brand
Start by getting off the PR teat and getting real. Curtail the use of wine ratings and stock imagery of vineyards and bottles, and start talking about things people actually care about. There are always stories to capitalize on if you look in the right places and ask the right questions. For example, I was at Matanzas Creek Winery recently (a Jackson Family property) and learned by chance that it is one of the top ten places nationwide where people choose to get engaged. Tidbits like this are gold – much more valuable and interesting than a high point score on a particular wine. This speaks to passion and romance and gets people sentimental about their own engagement story or dreaming about the day they’ll pop the question. There is a social campaign in the works to capitalize on this narrative thread and, once again, invite people to participate in our brand. Pinpoint the ways in which your wine, winery, team or community is special, what people are passionate about, what kinds of quirky personalities are part of your brand story and tell that story in a very universal way.
When I started this job, a lot of people asked: what’s your relationship to wine? To me, it’s about the social aspect of wine, cracking open a bottle and sharing with friends. A delicious wine can be the centerpiece of the moment, but the whole experience is really about the people you share it with. As marketers working in the wine industry, we can enrich our narrative by making it about much more than just the wine itself.
Despite a significant, long-term shortage of grapes and economic pressures that are putting the squeeze on profit margins, California wine industry leaders are cautiously optimistic about the future, according to two new surveys conducted by the University of California, Davis.
Findings from the surveys of wine executives and winemakers were presented today during the Wine Industry Financial Symposium at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, Calif.
“Industry leaders agree that while the somewhat giddy wine-buying days of 2006 and 2007 are not likely to return in the near future, there remains a strong and growing consumer base for California wines,” said Robert Smiley, an emeritus professor and former dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.
“These consumers are savvy, value-conscious wine drinkers who have weathered the economic downturn and perhaps have ‘reset’ their wine preferences at lower prices,” he said. “Industry executives realize that they are going to have to earn their business by offering affordable quality and customer service.”
Smiley has surveyed wine executives for each of the last 11 years and winemakers for 21 years. The influential surveys examine global and national trends in the wine industry. They complement other wine research and teaching at UC Davis, home for more than 100 years to the largest and most comprehensive university wine program in the United States.
Survey of wine executives
Smiley’s 11th annual wine executives survey gathers opinions and projections from the heads of 24 leading wine operations. Most of the respondents represent wine companies; others are from operations that range from grape-growing and wine-distribution firms to financial institutions.
This fall’s harvest of California wine grape appears to be strong, but it will not make up for several years of shortfall, Smiley said.
Most of the survey participants noted that they are dealing with a grape shortage resulting from a growth in demand for wine that has not been matched by establishment of new vineyards or replanting of aging vines.
As a result, the wine producers are paying higher prices for grapes, establishing or extending contracts with grape growers, and buying grapes from other countries. They also are using grapes from broader appellations — buying fruit from vineyards beyond the most premium areas for specific wine-grape varieties. And they are planting new vineyards.
As wine-grape prices and other operating costs climb, the wine producers are being hit from the other side by wine prices that remain stagnant. To survive this economic squeeze, they are boosting wine prices when the market will bear an increase, reducing their operating costs, fine-tuning operating efficiencies and strengthening their relationships with wine-grape growers.
According to Smiley’s survey, many of the industry leaders are hopeful that, as the economy gradually recovers, consumers will return to buying higher-priced wines, although probably not at the level of “conspicuous consumption” that marked wine sales in 2006 and 2007.
Furthermore, many of the wine executives said their firms are struggling with a shortage of vineyard laborers, noting that there are fewer people in the farm labor pool. When harvest of other crops in the region overlaps with wine-grape harvest, growers often find themselves scrambling for field workers.
To deal with the labor shortage, many survey respondents said they are increasing wages and benefits to attract employees, using labor contractors, and increasing their use of mechanization for harvesting.
Survey of wine professionals
Smiley’s survey of California wine professionals, now in its 21st year, tapped the opinions of 138 winemakers.
More than 30 percent of the respondents predicted that the California wine industry will continue to grow and prosper in the next few years, reflecting a growing optimism about the industry’s future.
They noted that in the past two years, there has been a new emphasis among wine consumers on value, new varietals, new tastes and “affordable luxury.”
Many observed that today’s consumers are influenced much less by brand loyalty and more by social media when making purchasing decisions.
Meanwhile, the wine professionals said that social media played a moderately important role in their own businesses. Most cited Facebook, followed by Twitter, company blogs and LinkedIn, as their preferred social media tools.
The wine professionals predicted that during the next three years the strongest demand among red wines would be for Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and red blends. Among white wines, they predict that the greatest consumer demand will be for Chardonnay, Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc, followed very closely by Pinot Grigio.
They expect to see the strongest growth in sales among wines in the
$10 to $14 and $14 to $20 price ranges.
About the UC Davis Graduate School of Management
Dedicated to preparing innovative leaders for global impact, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the premier business schools in the United States and internationally. The School’s faculty members are globally renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, the school provides a bold, innovative approach to management education to 110 full-time MBA students at the UC Davis campus and nearly 400 part-time MBA students in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. A Master of Professional Accountancy degree program launches in fall 2012. More information about the school is available at <http://www.gsm.ucdavis.edu>.
About UC Davis
For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 32,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget that exceeds $684 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
Jeremy Benson is the founder and president of Benson Marketing Group, the leading wine marketing agency in the U.S. He is a guest expert lecturer on marketing at the UC Davis Wine Executive Program, from March 26-29, 2012, presented by the Graduate School of Management and the Department of Viticulture and Enology.
In 2012, there’s no need to make a case for social media—it’s ubiquitous, and the necessity of participating in those channels is recognized by many wineries. However, the wine industry is very different from other marketplaces, so social media needs to be approached in a unique way. From a business standpoint, we have a challenge because there are 130,000 domestic and imported wines introduced every year, and there are very few companies with significant market share. We’re faced with a market that is incredibly fragmented, making it difficult to develop any kind of brand loyalty.
Reliving the Experience
We can start by approaching social media with the brand experience itself, where the experience is the brand message. We’ve been successful in developing brand loyalty as it relates to tourism traffic to wineries. For instance, consumers travel to a winery, and establish a memory and conviviality related to that experience. Social media gives marketers the tools to help consumers revisit that memory through Facebook, Twitter posts, or through videos and photographs—the opportunities are almost endless. From a one-time encounter, we’re able to prolong the experience and periodically remind the consumer about the brand, thus reinforcing their loyalty.
There have been some studies on this topic. Most have to do with a concept known as “the loyalty loop”. Social media assets allow people to share their experiences with a product post-purchase. This keeps them in a loyalty loop where they’re more likely to purchase that particular brand again due to the brand relationship they develop after the purchase itself.
The second thing we must consider is creating content that reinforces the experience. Social media is not just something you do to check a box off on your to-do list—content creation needs to happen in a thoughtful and strategic way. How do you create content that reminds people of a positive memory? How do you bring people back to their winery visit or a great moment they had enjoying a bottle of wine with friends? Much of it has to do with experiential marketing, where the experience is the message itself. We want to draw people back to the experience in interesting and authentic ways.
Leveraging Online Tools for a Virtual Experience
Online tools provide many opportunities. Virtual tastings using a webcast or a Livestream feed through Facebook have been particularly successful. For example, we created a live online event with a studio audience to help announce the latest vintage of one client’s flagship wine. The event was a wine club membership benefit. It allowed the winery’s fans to interact in real time with the winemaker, and heightened anticipation for the latest vintage. Questions came in from Hong Kong, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
It also created a lot of robust content because we had the opportunity to edit the presentation into shorter video segments, creating social media content that could be rolled out after the event.
When speaking about marketing to wine industry audiences, I present social media and online marketing as one part of an integrated marketing plan. It is a useful tactic to develop loyalty in this competitive industry.
I welcome you to join me and the other “students of marketing” as we consider how to assemble a winning winery marketing plan at the Wine Executive Program on March 26-29.
How will you manage your business during the tight supply of grapes in the coming years? How do you create an effective social media plan? Is there a real wine market in China? Participants discussed these questions (and many more) during the 12th Annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program, presented by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Department of Viticulture.From March 25th – 29th, we welcomed a sold out audience of 70 participants from California, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, West Virginia and New York; international participants traveled from Argentina, Hong Kong and Canada.
“This intensive program offers even seasoned industry veterans new perspectives on marketing, finance, winegrowing and other topics in a stimulating and collegial environment. It’s also a great opportunity to compare notes with suppliers, growers, winemakers and retailers from around the world. Bravi!”
- Jack Stuart , Winemaker & General Manager, Benessere Vineyards
The program, a comprehensive overview of all aspects relating to wine industry, attracted a broad range of practitioners including: general managers from wineries of all sizes, winemakers, marketing managers, finance and HR professionals, chefs, restaurateurs and winery investors. This year’s attendees were a highly interactive group who benefitted from the connections they made, and the opportunity to pursue those interactions after the session ended.
Wine Making and The Vineyard of the Future
Experts from the Department of Viticulture and Enology presented attendees with a thorough overview of the ABC’s of wine making, including technical topics such as:
The fundamentals of grape growing and winemaking
An analysis of vineyard site evaluation and selection
Long-term vineyard establishment decisions
Seasonal management options and costs
Practical solutions/options for managing quality and costs
The Wine Executive Program was an excellent overview of the wine industry from Grape to Bottle. The presenters were top notch and engaging. The topics were extremely relevant to today’s challenges in the wine industry and I would recommend this program to anyone desiring insight into the extremely dynamic and complex industry”
- Chase Cambron, VP Operations, Constellation Wines U.S., Clos Du Bois Winery
The Business Side
Business experts provided a global perspective of the wine industry. Business and management topics included:
Financial management of wineries and vineyards, and strategic cost management in the wine industry
Creating your marketing plan 2.0
How to sell an innovative idea
What’s Your Story? Creating a wine brand that stands out
Legal issues facing the domestic wine and vineyard industries
How to tap into the network of innovation
Opportunities for the wine industry in China
“I was pleased to be selected to attend this program and found the experience very rewarding. As a Human Resources Manager it gave me a detailed look into the different components that make up the winery. I also met many talented colleagues and feel the networking was beneficial. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to grow in this industry.”
- Lisa Sommers, SPHR Human Resources Manager Cakebread Cellars
Instructors presented opportunities to turn theory into practice with a series of hands-on exercises. Participants were given the ability to understand the art and science of selling innovative ideas through interactive role-play around negotiating and influencing others to accept your ideas. We also delved into developing brands that stand out and macro trends in marketing communications, social media and public relations, ending with an exercise for participants to create or update their current marketing plans.
“The 2012 Wine Executive Program was an amazing experience for me. The slate of courses was well balanced between marketing, wine making, & accounting for wine. The presenters were some of the best in their field & many of the attendees could have taught classes as well. I learned a lot during the classes & sometimes more during dinner or over drinks after dinner. It was an excellent opportunity to meet a diverse group of people in the industry & trade experiences with them. I highly recommend the course.”
- Phillip Anderson, General Manager Cap★Rock Winery
Connections That Last
The highlights of the week were the many social activities enabling the group to make deeper connections with each other. We hosted a dinner at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and held a wine tasting where participants had the opportunity to share wine from their own wineries and collections. The variety and excellence of these wines was a real treat for everyone in attendance.
The connections have continued after this year’s very successful program and we look forward to seeing everyone at upcoming events being planned for this fall. For more information about the program schedule and details on the speakers and sessions, please visit the WEP Curriculum page.
Thanks to everyone in the vibrant group who participated this year! We look forward to staying connected with all our new friends.
In Retrospect: Participants’ Praise
“The program allowed me to learn different facets of the business at a high level. The UC Davis staff did an incredible job with the accommodations, presentation of materials and the caliber of the instructors. The benefit of the four days of instruction allowed me personally to understand how the other areas of the business function and what to focus on within those different functions. Another benefit of attending the program was the realization of how big the wine industry is and how diverse it is. As for the social / network aspect, I had the opportunity to meet 70 other people in the business from different countries and different departments as well as a wide spectrum of the size of wineries and price point of the wine they sell. This allowed for side conversations in a social environment that allowed all of us to compare and discuss the struggles and opportunities we all have within our own wineries.”
- Chris Reed, Director of Finished Cased Goods, Delicato Family Vineyards
(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Part-Time MBA program offered in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area is ranked among the top 9% in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings.
At No. 29, this is the fourth consecutive year the UC Davis Part-Time MBA program is among the top AACSB International-accredited part-time MBA programs surveyed. This year, there were 323 part-time MBA programs surveyed.
(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Full-Time MBA program is ranked among the premier business schools in the nation for the 20th consecutive year, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings released today.
U.S. News’ latest ranking places the Full-Time MBA program at No. 48, placing it among the top 10% of the 464 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International’s accredited full-time MBA programs surveyed.
Key statistics from the School’s Full-Time MBA ranking include:
(Davis, Calif.) – With a joint goal of speeding the transfer of new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have announced a new partnership for researchers to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
What opportunities, decisions, events have shaped your professional life?
My career path has been a climb across a jungle gym rather than a tangent up a corporate ladder. As a child, I used to thumb through the three-inch JCPenney catalogue, picking out the professional women who I would grow to be. I wanted to rule the world from a corner office in a suit and heels. I wanted to shed my humble origins and become Corporate Barbie.
Agilent Technologies’ Electronic Measurement Group is a $3.6 billion business that over the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in its customer base from U.S., and Western European customers to predominantly Asia-based customers. Today, the majority of the division’s revenues are generated outside of the U.S., with an increasing concentration in China.