Félix Solís Ramos
The three wine professionals will participate in the round table "Strategic Marketing: trends in the international wine world over the next five years"
The Internet will become a major channel for the sale of wine in the immediate future. This is one of the key elements presented by British journalist John Radford, the Jumilla-based Bordeaux enologist Patrick Rabion and Félix Solís Avantis' Marketing and Export Manager, Félix Solís Ramos, during the round table "Strategic Marketing: trends in the international wine world over the next five years" to be held on May 6th within the framework of the National Wine Fair, FENAVIN.
John Radford believes that at this time in the United Kingdom there is a tendency to buy cheaper wines, and so people choose to do this at supermarkets, which profit from this. "Spanish wines are very well represented in this sector," he says. However, "quality wines have shown stability in recent months, which means that the buyers of quality wines are managing to hold their position."
The enologist also has opinions about quality Spanish wine, stating that "in Spain, apart from the traditional D.O. wines, such as Rioja, Ribera del Duero, etc, newer quality wine production regions will consolidate in Castile-La Mancha, Murcia, Galicia, Catalonia, Navarra, Extremadura, etc".
"On the one hand, we have a wide range of economic wines, well-made and with a nice presentation and then there is also a range of high-quality wines, which are an expression of the terroir where they are produced. He also believes that organic wines should benefit from political changes in favor of sustainable development, ecology, etc."
With regard to trends in the wine market, Félix Solís thinks that "the playing field is becoming ever more global and, in the case of Spanish wineries, the export market is gaining in importance given the decline in domestic consumption. However, it is also necessary to involve young Spaniards in wine culture and to let them know that thousands of families live from this industry which creates foodstuff that is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and which has proven benefits in terms of cardiovascular illnesses. Furthermore it also has anti-aging and anti-stress properties, as long as it is drunk in moderation, given that it is a social drink."
As for the future of Spanish wines, the British writer says that, firstly, the current trend will continue and, secondly, we will adapt more to the New World wines. According to Rabion, "we will have a 'standard range' of quality with an international profile, and then a medium-high to high range that stresses the specificity and personality of each vineyard's terroir.
In this regard, Félix Solís explains that "wines have always to be adapted to the tastes of each specific market," although he believes that we must not lose our characteristics as a traditional wine-producing country with a long cultural and production history, much like Italy and France."
"Something quite different is that our traditional system of regulations and supervisory councils sometimes puts us at a disadvantage compared with the so-called New World countries, which have much greater production per hectare and whose governments are much more permissive when allowing winemaking techniques that are not common in Spain. This, together with the manpower of some Latin American countries, puts us at a disadvantage and means that some large wineries in traditional wine-producing countries have to buy wines from these regions for certain blends," he adds.
Likewise, these three wine professionals consider that the Internet will become a major distribution channel for the sale of wine "particularly in the most developed countries (USA and Western Europe)," says the enologist.
Félix Solís considers that "once secure payment methods have been perfected and mutual trust in the process has been built, the Internet will become very important indeed for the sale of wine, on top of the fact that everybody currently works with email and there are now laws giving legal value to these communications."
Furthermore, they believe that in the future Spanish producers will merge with the aim of having less competition in the market. "Especially the cooperatives," according to Radford. "They merge in order to share departments such as accounts, exports, etc." The enologist explains that "it is a phenomenon that has been happening for a few years now, and perhaps this will increase after the crisis and from the good business opportunities that will arise."
The Marketing and Export Manager comments that "the wine market is very fragmented. You just have to go to a supermarket aisle, where there are hundreds of brands of wine. Recently a number of wineries have been created as a result of investments from other industries. That is all well and good, but many of them are experiencing bad times and many will undergo a concentration process due to the efforts of the major winemakers, given that in today's market it is important to be a global supplier" - he reaffirms.
FENAVIN, focusing on international trade
The three speakers have already visited FENAVIN on a number of occasions. The journalist and contributor to Wine Magazine and Decanter has attended every event since the first, and in his judgment it is "quite a large fair, but also a small one, given that it is possible to visit all the exhibitors in a short time. It also gives smaller companies a chance to exhibit, thanks to its reasonable price."
According to Rabion, it is "a very interesting initiative, focusing on international trade. This is precisely where the sale of Spanish wine has the greatest potential for growth."
Bodegas Félix Solís Avantis has been coming to the fair since it began and, according to the company's Export Manager, "its success is obvious from the fact that, year after year, it has been necessary to add more exhibition space, and it is clear that the show is outgrowing the exhibition center."
According to Solís, the only comparable event at present in Spain is INTERVIN, the wine section of Barcelona's Alimentaria food and drink fair, with which FENAVIN alternates biannually. "We have to congratulate the Provincial Government, its president, Nemesio de Lara, and the director, Manuel Juliá, for the international character that this event has had from the very beginning. The promotion that has been carried out in some of the most important Spanish-wine-importing countries has also been a major factor. Services such as the Wine Gallery, the Business Center and many others reinforce FENAVIN's professional nature; it is the wine fair for Spain's great wines," he concludes.