Miss Bouquet’s World Wine Flag – The Results!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

WWF_logoThe results are in! The wines selected to fly the Miss Bouquet World Wine Flag are ready to be revealed! Last month, when England was still in the World Cup and the St George’s cross was freckling the streets I got a group of football widows together for a night flying a flag of a different kind. The World Wine Flag. Red, white and rosé of course.

Why? Well I’ve sat through my fair share of formulaic wine trade seminars in my time, you know the ones with the dramatic sounding titles that lead you to believe that by attending this seminar you’ll walk away with the key to abundant wine sales at profitable margins for years to come. My most recent experience of this time wasting exercise was at the London International Wine Fair 2010 in May. The seminar was alluringly titled:

“Where is the UK wine category heading”

Did I walk away with the key to the wine category’s future, mais non. Predictably it ended in the usual mumble-jumble about engaging with the next generation of wine drinkers blah, blah, blah and encouraging people to trade up blah, blah, blah. Never any talk of who or how these goals would actually be realised. I walked away having wasted another hour of my time listening to ill prepared ‘specialists’ and a PR pitch from a well respected research company.

This time a Gallic shrug wasn’t going to cut it. And as the saying goes if you want something done properly then do it yourself… I want to know what the future of the wine category is and I’m determined to work it out… And so the Miss Bouquet World Wine Flag research evening was born.

According to official statistics 80% of wine in the UK off trade is bought by women, combine that with a trade that struggles to engage with younger wine drinkers and you have a rather murky looking future for wine sales as well as a hugely powerful wine buying segment that isn’t being spoken to; a category I have alluringly entitled the ‘Girl-About-Town’ or GAT’s to their friends.

The goal: to uncover what this mythical demographic have a taste for this summer and ultimately find three wines, one red, one white and one rosé selected by a group of GATs to fly the Miss Bouquet World Wine Flag!

Two wine pr companies, one wine importer and one winery sent in samples for the line up, a total of 16 wines1; 6 reds, 3 whites and 7 rosés. Nine GAT’s attended the wine tasting evening all aged between 29 and 32. Each wine was tasted together as a group and the positives and negatives discussed openly on the packaging, taste and price before deciding which wine from each colour group stood out from the rest.

And the winners are:

La Croisade Merlot & medalRED:

La Croisade Reserve Merlot 2009, France
What the Girls-about-town said about the taste:
“I love the nose and the palate, it’s so fruity” “this is my kind of wine, lovely and smooth” “This is my favourite” “I really really like it”

About the packaging:
“It looks French and I think highly of French wine” “The label is simple, it says exactly what it is on the label and it’s easy to understand”

Some extra thoughts:
“This wine is a crowd pleaser, a classic, it could be drunk on so many occasions – pub, bar, resto, at home.” And when asked how much the group would pay for the bottle the average was £6 -£7. The actual price is £5.99 and it’s available from Majestic.

Fetzer PG & medalWHITE:What the Girls-about-town said about the taste:
“It’s light, smooth and very drinkable”

Fetzer Pinot Grigio 2009, California

About the packaging:
“The packaging looks like it could be organic” “It looks natural”
“ Looks green and apply and the trees make the wine look natural, like it may be good for you!”

Some extra thoughts:
“You could order this wine for a group of friends in a pub and be confident everyone would like it” “It’s an everyday sort of wine”

Fetzer Pinot Grigio 2009 is £6.99 and available at The Cooperative, Budgens, Londis, Tesco, Booths & Somerfield

ROSE:

For the rosé wines the votes were torn. The GATs felt the Fresita Chilean sparkling wine with strawberries was not what they would class as a ‘proper’ wine and felt it unfair to compare against the other rosés. So there are two results. The first includes voting for all seven wines from the line-up and sees Fresita, Chilean sparkling wine & strawberries as the winner with 6 out of nine votes. The second vote was cast with Fresita taken out and this vote saw MIP (Made in Provence) Domaine Sainte Lucie, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009 take pole position.

Fresita & medalFresita, Chilean sparkling wine & strawberries
What the Girls-about-town said about the taste:
“Lovely drink to have with ice cream and deserts” “Would be a good aperitif” “It could replace cocktails” “It’s way too sweet for me”

About the packaging:
“I’d probably buy this wine but I’d hide the bottle if I was serving it to friends, the packaging is terrible!”

Some extra thoughts:
“This is a wine for the baby sham crowd” “It’s a novelty wine” “I don’t think it’s really in the same category as wine, it may fit better in the bucks fizz category?”All nine girls in the group agreed they would buy this wine and would pay up to £10 for it. The actual price is £7.99 – £8.99 and it’s available from www.drinksdirect.co.uk

MIP & medalMIP (Made in Provence) Domaine Sainte Lucie, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009

What the Girls-about-town said about the wine:
“I love the colour” “The lighter colour makes me think it’d give me less of a hangover!”
“The colour is so summery” “The taste is light iwht not much depth, it’s uncomplicated”

About the packaging:
“I think the label is beautiful” “I’d take it to a party because it looks good”

Some extra thoughts:
The average price the group would pay for the wine was £6.50 – £7. The actual price is £9.50 and it’s available from Lea & Sandeman.

And finally…..

I believe that talking directly to this powerful wine buying group taught me more about where the future of the UK wine category could be heading than any trade seminar. Along with lots of positive things that can be drawn from the session the feeling I got from the group of a general mistrust towards wines and their producers was a worryingly reoccurring theme. The message that the packaging and price were trying to convey caused the most confusion amongst the GATs who struggled to decide whether a label design was trying to express premium quality and a genuine bargain or trick them into buying a bottle of mutton dressed as lamb. In addition the difficulty that the group had to select their preferred rosé was also significant. Not only because of the Fresita being so different but also in that when the Fresita was taken out of the line up the Made In Provence rosé only beat the Bonterra Organic Rosé 2008 from California by one vote. Three very different styles of rosé dividing the group. If GATs are the ones driving the sales of rosé then there is still a lot of work to do to help this segment understand the different styles there are out there and how to select the style they enjoy.

So the final saw four wines from three countries selected to fly the World Wine Flag : France, Chile and the USA. It may be a small victory in the grand scheme of things but at least their wines performed better than their football teams! Felicitations!

If women continue to control off trade wine sales in the UK with the same gusto as they currently do then engaging with these girls-about-town now should be top of every wine importer and wine producers agenda. Listen to what they have to say today and reap the benefits of their new found knowledge and enthusiasm for wine later.

Thank you:
With huge thanks to the wine companies that had the vision and faith to send in the samples and participate in my inaugral World Wine Flag event. A full and very detailed report of the evening which includes insights on pricing, packaging, closures and more has been sent to you. If you didn’t participate but would like to receive a copy of the report you know where I am: miss.bouquet@missbouquet.com

A huge thanks also goes to 7 Ball Design for their support in creating the Miss Bouquet World Wine Flag logo www.7balldesign.com

*****
1 The full list of wines on the Miss Bouquet wine shelf were:

Red:
Cent’are Nero d’Avola IGT Sicilia, 2008, Italy
La Croisade Reserve Merlot 2009, France
Yali Winemaker’s Selection Wetland Cabernet Carmenère 2008, Chile
Chateau de Pennautier Rouge Cabardès 2008, France
Fetzer Valley Oaks Shiraz, 2007, California
d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2006, Australia

Whites:
Fetzer Pinot Grigio 2009, California
d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne 2008, Australia
Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2006, California

Rosé:
MIP (Made in Provence) Domaine Sainte Lucie, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009
Boschendal Rosé 2009 (Merlot) , South Africa
Chilano Merlot Rosé 2009, Chile
Bonterra Rosé, Organic, 2008, California
Enate rosado, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Spain
Gallo Family Vineyards White Zinfandel 2009, California
Fresita, Chilean sparkling wine & strawberries, Chile

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One Response to “Miss Bouquet’s World Wine Flag – The Results!”

  1. Eamon says:

    Congrats on a brilliant concept. Timing was key and a World Cup Friday night was perfect- exactly when the “Girls-about-town” sentiment is at its strongest!

    A great result for the South of France as well, interesting how the group undervalued the rosé – proves the misconception that’s still there, that rosé is a cheaper wine.