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Feb 16

une boîte, s’il vous plaît

I came across an interesting article yesterday from Food Production Daily – Europe. The article discussed the boxed wine trend and how it might finally be catching on in France, "as consumers here prefer their wine in the more socially-acceptable bottle."

Until recently, I always turned my nose up at boxed wine. But boxed wine is changing, even if I’m not quite there yet. Of course, I never had the French option of taking a plastic jug to a merchant or chateau and having it filled from a large vat. That sounds heavenly, and I understand how that could compete with the boxed option.

However, the French are now changing their minds and slowly coming around to the wine-in-a-box idea. They are coming to appreciate the price per volume as well as the extended shelf life of boxed wine, once open. Consumers are also realizing that transporting and opening/sealing the wine is much easier in a box.

Françoise Brugière of Viniflhor, France’s
national wine industry board, said a 2006 survey by the organisation
found that 12.5 per cent of consumers said they had bought wine in
bag-in-box packaging, a two percentage points rise over 2005.

In both the UK and France, boxed wines represent about 9% of the wine market. Globally, boxes are generally more accepted than in France, UK, and the US.

… the market penetration rate is
up to 42 per cent in Norway, 33 per cent in Sweden, 25 per cent in
Finland, and 12 per cent in Denmark, according to various statistics
compiled by IRI France, ACNielsen Infoscan and TNS WorldPanel.

With the growing acceptance of boxed wine, packaging standards are being developed to ensure quality, which is a boon to consumers and manufacturers. Right now, it will take effort for many manufacturers to switch over to boxed wine, due to the purchasing of all new equipment. However, because the actual packaging costs less to transport and create than bottles, it may be less expensive for the wineries in the long run.

Oh, and the US market share percentage for boxed wine? 6%, the lowest global penetration.

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Posted by Michelle at 2:11 pm in News | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 16

Top 100 Wine Blogs

The other day I stumbled across the Top 100 Wine Blogs. Some of the rankings rather surprised me (such as my own blog at #57 – I’m surprised I’m even on the list!). Some of the rankings seemed perfect – such as Vinography as the #1 wine blog. No argument there.
Anyway, thank you readers and linkers, for the boost to #57. Not bad for less than a year as an official wine blogger. Let’s boost it up to the top half in the next few months!

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Posted by Michelle at 1:54 pm in Wine Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1)
Feb 16

Cool little tool

Picture_1_3A few days ago, I installed Answer Tips on this blog. I’ve been playing with it, but hadn’t yet announced it. However, Joel over at Vivi’s was so dang excited, I thought I’d join the announcement party. So now you know: double-click any word in this blog (that’s not a hyperlink) and a wonderful, AJAXxy-looking pop-up window appears, telling you everything you wanted to know about the word.
I could go on, but I’ll save it for my other blog, on what sort of impact this can have on corporate education. Instead, I’ll just mention that on a wine blog, where we often toss around words like tannic and terroir, it’s a great little helper guide for those unfamiliar with the terms.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:18 am in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 15

Will Travel for Food

The Travel Industry Association of America released a report on Wednesday on culinary travel. The study showed the 17% of American leisure travelers (27 million) engage in wine & food related activites while travelling. But the statistics get even better:

travelers are younger, more affluent and better educated than non- culinary
travelers. They are clearly motivated by unique experiences, reinforcing
the benefits of focusing on a destination’s individual environmental and
cultural elements.

study showed a slight majority of culinary travelers who participate in
just food-related activities while traveling, with one-in-ten leisure travelers
(10%), or 16 million Americans, reporting having done so. Another one-in-ten
(9.4%), or 15 million Americans, participate in just wine-related activities.
About 4 million leisure travelers participated in both food and wine activities.

average, food travelers spend $1,194 per trip, with over one-third (36%
or $425) of their travel budget going towards food-related activities.
Those considered to be “deliberate” food travelers (culinary activities
were the key reason for trip) tend to spend a significantly higher dollar
amount of their overall travel budget on food-related activities ($1,271
average trip cost; $593 or 50% spent on food-related activities).

The study also looked at another segment of leisure travellers, the "serious" culinary travellers who book a trip only as a means to reach the unique food & wine experiences.

All of these facts have serious marketing implications for just about every area. So many states now (including my Ky, Indiana, and Ohio area) have wine trails, with burgeoning small wineries. Imagine the marketing potential of these wine trails to these consumers who are travelling only to enjoy the wine in a new place. Is it possible to make Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio wines appealing to someone who has to travel a large distance to get there?

The article also points out that even the less serious culinary traveller is prone to visit wineries and food and wine festivals. At any of these locations, the traveller can purchase the product, returning home with it, leading to more informal, word of mouth marketing.

I’ve seen individual wineries market themselves, but I’ve yet to be exposed to a full-scale, state-sponsored marketing assault. I guarantee there a many potential culinary travellers out there who don’t even know Ohio makes decent wines.

The best statistic in the article:

The future is bright for the culinary
traveler market, as the share of U.S. leisure travelers interested in culinary
travel in the near future (60%) is significantly larger than those currently

Marketing: engage!

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Posted by Michelle at 11:47 pm in News, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)
Feb 15

Land for Sale

I tagged several articles out to del.icio.us today that I wanted to consider later. One of them is the now oft appearing article on the Silicon Valley and wine. The article, in the San Jose Mercury News, made some good points, such as the use of technology in wine country now that the tech guys are moving in. I’m not surprised, however, that technology is adding to the age-old process of winemaking. The growing of the grapes though – that’s rooted in a strong historical foundation.

My husband mentioned tonight that he’d like to retire and own a winery. I laughed and read him the article.

Prices for Napa vineyards rose dramatically to $500,000 an acre in the tech boom. These days, you have to be in the $20 million club to acquire a winery and the accompanying vineyards.

The article also recounts the well-known tale of the division between the original and older winemakers and the “nouveau riche” of the tech boom. I wouldn’t worry about tht though. If the tech guys are “retiring ” to run a vineyard, they’ll put a lot of hard work into it. That’s how they succeeded the first time. I’d worry more about the various athletes and movie stars who are moving to Napa, taking advantage of a “hobby run amok.” If you’re going to run a winery, you have to have several of things – knowledge and money (to do the right things and hire the right people), patience (grapes don’t grow overnight), and passion.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:13 am in News | Permalink | Comments ()

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