With restrictions temporarily eased, September saw independent retailers and restaurants operate as close to normal as they have been permitted this year, a circumstance many took full advantage of launching Bordeaux Wine Month campaigns, an initiative returning for its third consecutive year.
With a proven track-record of driving sales, this month-long initiative provides a unique platform for independent wine merchants to promote their range of Bordeaux Wine and boost their sales by showcasing the incredible diversity of wines that the region has to offer. Despite the challenging retail environment that has plagued 2020, this year’s Bordeaux Wine Month was an unprecedented success with the promotion being extended to the restaurant trade, through a “Bordeaux By the Glass” initiative.
Participant across both sectors unanimously reported impressive increases in sales, and have all expressed an interest in taking part in Bordeaux Wine Month 2021. The response from consumers has also been overwhelmingly positive. It is clear that in the UK, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that there is a thirst among consumers to explore previously undiscovered wine styles. Even if wine retailers have had to find new ways of reaching and communicating with their customers, opportunities to taste and learn about unfamiliar wines continues to generate sales. Read on to find our more.
Launched in September 2018, Bordeaux Wine Month offers a unique opportunity for independent retailers and their customers, old and new, to celebrate the incredible diversity of wines from Bordeaux, throughout the month of September.
The mechanic is simple: participating wine merchants must run an eye-catching promotion including hosting a minimum of three tastings in their stores for a minimum of two weeks during the month of September – of course, this year presented the added challenge of making tastings Covid compliant.
“Feedback from past promotions has been exceptional, with retailers selling on average 20 more cases of Bordeaux than usual,” says Fiona Juby, UK Marketing Consultant for CIVB (Bordeaux Wine Council. Bordeaux Wine Month is a fantastic way for retailers and restaurants to showcase this diversity, encourage trial and increase sales.”
Indies have come to expect great results from Bordeaux Wine Month but with a year marred by COVID-19 there was significant uncertainty on what impact
the pandemic would have on sales, both in the off and on-trade and whether restricted opportunities to taste and potentially lower footfall would limit the success of the campaign compared to that of past years.
However, despite this, and the social distancing restrictions in place over September, an additional 23 more independent retailers took part compared to the previous year, with all reporting outstanding results
“We continue to have good Bordeaux sales above what we previously sold. The Bordeaux Blanc now has a firm place in the fridge which it previously did not.” – Liqourice
For the first time this year and in the wake of the challenges presented by the pandemic to the on-trade, the CIVB extended the campaign to support independent restaurants with twenty restaurants selected to take part in a By the Glass campaign. Again, the mechanic was simple, with each outlet provided with a striking POS kit and digital assets with the aim of encouraging diners to explore the full spectrum of Bordeaux wines by showcasing a dry white and a red Bordeaux.
“Customers were quite surprised with the range of wines – we were selling Crémant (white & Rosé), whites, and a selection of reds. Sauternes went very well during the month, something that customers would normally hesitate to buy at the end of a meal. Overall, the perception of “pub wine” was changed. We’re normally a Real Ale pub, so it was great to see so many people embracing the wine offer.” – The Bell Inn
With an increasing amount of activity moving online to support both consumers and the trade, the promotion of Bordeaux Wine Month worked harder than ever on both Bordeaux and retailer social media platforms. Both developing new approaches for reaching consumers, many of which will no doubt continue beyond the era of social distancing. Several retailers drove revenue by hosting virtual tastings with wines sold in store adding value to sale, building relationships with their customer base and providing an educational element to them.
Infographics and bitesize videos offered teasers, increasing click-through rates to store and encouraging communication and interaction from a younger demographic. As much as possible the CIVB supported retailers by sharing content on their @bordeauxwinesuk channels, and partnerships with influencers raised awareness of the promotion to a broader audience, while on Twitter a lively UK Wine Hour discussion on the dry whites of Bordeaux reached over half a million trade and consumer accounts.
Patrons across both on-trade and off-trade establishments running Bordeaux Month activity, responded resoundingly positively to their experience. Rediscovery of forgotten styles such as sweet Bordeaux, new experiences such as virtual tastings with winemakers and sampling unfamiliar wine styles were all identified as reasons customers found Bordeaux Wine Month so rewarding. One retailer customer noted “I didn’t realise they made white wine in Bordeaux, I loved it so much, I bought a case of each of the three white Bordeaux that were in stock!” It is clear even in a year that has been so disrupted, activity focused on providing customers with opportunities and give them confidence to purchase previously unfamiliar styles has a marked benefit for both consumers and wine business owners.
Bordeaux Wine Month is no doubt set to bigger than ever in 2021, if you are interested in learning more about the campaign and ways you can get involved please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further advice on increasing wine retail sales, read the latest article – 5 Ways To Boost Your Christmas Sales During Covid Restrictions.