While scanning through The Times Online Business section today, I came across an article all about how French wine sales are struggling in the current economic climate (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article6506526.ece ). The French wine industry has been in decline for many years now, struggling against the big brand names from the New World with its large advertising budgets. Combine this with the current exchange rates not being favourable, and the recession really biting into the world’s economies, it is no surprise it has the issues it currently does.
According to Marlous Kuiper at Euromonitor international, French wine exports have fallen by 12% in 2008, and are likely to continue to decline in 2009. Even in France, sales have fallen by 1% as they struggle to attract younger drinkers who don’t see wine as trendy any more, and the older generations who have cut back as they choose a healthier lifestyle.
The New World now accounts for roughly 50% of the UK wine market. This led to Steve Lewis, chief executive of Majestic to dub UK young wine drinkers as the “Jacob’s Creek generation”, many have never even tasted a French wine. This is a great concern to me, though I’m a huge fan of New World wines, wines from the Old World are some of the most complex and wonderful wines in the world. In an attempt to revive sales and draw in younger customers they have implemented price cuts, but will this be enough? Only time will tell on this point.
However educating the younger generations into what wines smell and taste of, along with food matching ideas might be a good place to start.
Many people don’t understand wines from the Old World as there is a certain mystique around them, however, if they educate people about wine and give some insight into why they cost the money they do, then maybe they will see an increase in sales!