This is the main conclusion reached at the round table 'Promotional Strategies for Exporting', which has been held at FENAVIN
Three have been the experts who have contrasted their opinions at this very interesting activity: Joanna Mason, Director of the Office for Wines of South Africa in the United Kingdom; Michael Cox, Director of Wines of Chile in the same country; and Rosa Angulo, Representative of the Department of Wines of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).
Each one of them has explained their different trajectories to the audience, and the strategies they have employed in the last few years. Michael Cox kicked-off the session by making it clear that Wines of Chile groups together one hundred wineries, and that his institution's activity - with financing that is mainly private - has focused on commercializing the Chilean country as a true brand, closely connected to "the most impressive and dynamic quality wines".
On her part, Joanna Mason has gone straight to the point, outlining the importance that the differential factor has in the generic promotion of wines, "finding a niche in which to tell our story". The greatest difficulty, she pointed out, has been "how to explain the great diversity of South African wine-growing in a single phrase". The elegant solution to this problem is the slogan 'Variety is in our nature'. This phrase admits all sorts of interpretations, amongst them the one that is directly linked to wine-tourism, a very important business sector in South Africa.
Rosa Angulo has described the activity of her department and how the ICEX promotes Spanish wine under the brand 'Wines from Spain'. This is an 'umbrella' brand - also a 'country' brand - that covers the numerous and varied activities that the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade carries out in its promotional work, although two important factors exist that differentiate the Spanish institution from its counterparts. In the first place, the number of wineries, which in Spain stands at about 4500, although only about a thousand of them carry out any type of exporting activity. In the second place that the ICEX is a public body, work of which could not be sustained without co-financing from the wineries that are involved.
One of the matters put forward in the debate between the three speakers has been if the distinction between wines from the 'Old World' and the 'New World' is real or a mere marketing artifact. While for Michael Cox the differences are indeed real, defined by the different styles of wine, Rosa Angulo has admitted that the so-called 'Producers of the New World' were the ones who first applied modern marketing techniques to the promotion of wine. Joanna Mason has pointed out that the difference between the old and new producer countries has existed for years, and it still has some validity, although the market is increasingly global and the differences in style are no longer as marked. The three have coincided in that the main concern resides in adapting to the taste of the consumer, who is the one that really marks the trends and on the imperious need for differentiation by way of innovation and quality.