Wine Business

Wine Marketing: How To Analyse It


This article outlines the analysis of wine marketing. I will use as an example product Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. This is from the Central Valley, Chile 2018. Concha Y Toro is the producer.



This is a value wine which aims at a large volume of sales.  The production is 22m cases a year.  Concha Y Toro are among the ten highest volume producers globally.  Cabernet Sauvignon is a very well-known variety. Chile is a very well-known country of production though maybe still slightly exotic and interesting for some consumers.


This wine costs £8 our bottle in Tesco. It is available online at £7.49 plus shipping. The wine is also available at Majestic for £6.99. That suggests that a special deal must have been done. The wine is positioned towards the top of the value end of the price range

The average price per bottle paid in the UK has been increasing slightly.  It is a price-sensitive market, but there have been some signs of a trend to premiumisation. In previous decades, supermarkets would move a lot of wine at £5 per bottle, but Millennials are more health conscious.  It seems inconsistent to them to go to the gym most days but also consume alcohol every day.

Many older customers would have drunk wine every evening. These customers would not pay £8.  Millennials are replacing these consumers. Millennials are more likely to drink only at weekends. They are prepared to trade up.

The price of £8 in Tesco is perfectly positioned. It will hit the bulk of the current market. A Millennial professional picking up a bottle on the way home from work to drink with a meal would be a typical customer. They want to have something which is good value but with some interest to it to go with a meal or prior to going out.


The low-involvement consumer is the primary target demographic. This customer is slightly above the absolute minimum price-sensitive consumer but not willing to pay for additional structure or complexity.

Millennial consumers are likely to be reached by the marketing of this wine. It could sell well on the same basis to similar people in the US and more widely, though probably not in wine producing countries like Spain or France.  Here, there will be too much local competition which will be offering fair quality without needing to carry a transport spend and marketing budget.

Wine Marketing: The Place

Ssupermarkets, convenience stores and online are the normal sales channels for a value wine like this.

Deep discounters will not carry this wine normally. They might do so if a special deal is available. This is because deep discounters will not want to pay for the heavy marketing/ad spend of a major brand like this. It is possible that deals can happen in some years though because 2.2m cases is a huge quantity. An economic downswing could cause the producer to be holding large quantities which will not really benefit from bottle ageing.  In fact, this wine will likely deteriorate quickly (some commentators recommended drinking the 2018 in 2018 and no later in fact).

In this case, the wine is available in specialist wine retail though that is slightly surprising.  It is possible that Majestic have specifically chosen this wine to capture the value-seeking customer.  Or they carry it as a response to specific market conditions now.  They could be moving very high volumes online to a lower-involvement customer base than would normally be the case.

Majestic could also be using a very good value wine as a hook to lure customers to their online space. They may then well be able to persuade them to trade up, but even if not, a sale is a sale.

Wine Marketing: The Promotion

Amazon describe the wine as the “UK’s No.1 Cabernet Sauvignon.” This is sticking strictly to the facts and is a positive message. People prefer choices already made by others since this seems to reduce risk.

Concha Y Toro make the following remarks on the product.

ORIGIN: Central Valley


SOIL: Mainly alluvial

AGEING: Aged in American oak barrels.

COLOUR: Deep, intense ruby red.

AROMA: The expression of cassis in this wine perfectly represents the Valle Central and its richness in fruit such as cherries and plums. The barrel ageing length thanks to the toast and coffee notes (sic)

PALATE: Medium bodied with silky tannins and long, ripe fruit and berry aftertaste, with impressive balance of fruit and polished tannins.

FOOD PAIRING: Red meats, well-seasoned dishes, and aged cheeses such as Gruyere or blue

There is a deliberate gradient of complexity to this description. The low-involvement consumer receives some information (cassis,  richness, cherries) immediately. Low-involvement consumers could be switched off by the mention of tannins.

It is slightly confusing that there seem to be some issues with the English. One would not normally expect this in the wine marketing of a major conglomerate.

The “Story” in Wine Marketing

One of the keys to modern wine marketing is having a good “story.” Here, this means that people can wonder why there is a devil on the bottle. They will be intrigued and look into what the name means: why is it called “The Devil’s Cellar.”

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Wine Business

Marketing Sherry: A Suggested Campaign


In this article, I provide some suggestions on how there could be improvements to marketing sherry.

Tradition with a future

Suggested strapline



A poster should include a website at which people could learn more. In the case of a single producer, this could be their home site. But sherry has a marketing issue as a product. It is extremely unfashionable despite being some of the most complex and interesting wine available at the price point. So the poster should work against prevailing negative impressions.

Amazingly enough, the domain is unoccupied. The Consejo Regulador should address this omission. If it existed, it would be a good candidate to use on a poster. A web address on a poster needs to be unambiguous and impossible to forget. fulfils those criteria.

To be fair, is in use, so a redirect is all that is needed here. The .wine domain is not well-known.

Addressing Problems

The major problem for sherry is that it has a brand image which repels younger consumers. Health concerns about alcohol consumption worse this. The proportion of fortified wines sold as a percentage of all wines sold has declined from 4% to 2.5% over approximately the last decade.

Some people see sherry as a very old fashioned drink. One’s grandparents drank it. However, it has a devoted following among critics and high-involvement consumers who see it as providing a very high complexity/price ratio. That makes it a cheap way of enjoying complex flavours and aromas.

Marketing Sherry: Targets

The marketing strategy must focus on younger consumers, but must also rely on the heritage of the product. Sherry has an appealing history with the romance of the Solera system and that gives much to work with. The slogan “Tradition with a future” aims to use the historical foundation but also emphasise that sherry will be something to enjoy for many years to come.

There are many different types of sherry which brings two benefits. Consumers could become “sherry explorers.” Marketing sherry needs to focus on greatly expanding the customer base, rather than trying to sell more to existing consumers.

They could try the various types to see if they prefer dryer styles like fino which have been biologically aged or sweeter styles such as pale cream. There is also the probability that almost everyone could find a style of sherry that they like because of the huge variation between the styles.

Sherry is a tightly controlled product. It may only be produced in a small triangle near Jerez in Spain. Marketing can use this a selling point. Ideally any promotion needs to tie in to the tourism operation into the region.

Marketing Sherry: Products

The essential Spanish identity of the product can also feed into the previous “sherry explorer” idea. It is clear that the styles of sherry which are familiar from the cupboard of the UK grandmother will be likely to be pale cream sweet styles. There is nothing wrong with that. The Bristol blue glass of the iconic Harvey’s brand is a marketing success. However, this style of sherry is not even half of the story. The campaign must emphasise that most of the sherry consumed in Spain is unlike that which has passed through Bristol. There is an entire world to explore.

Palo cortado is a product with a great deal of romance. It is probably the best product to be created by accident in the world of wine. Short form video content showing the “broken stick” being chalked would be useful. Overall, much activity in the bodega is highly visual. Typically Spanish imagery is widely available.


The product for the overall campaign is sherry in general, but it would be valuable to approach producers both major and minor to see what financial and other contributions may be available. The generic sherry campaign can establish marketing livery. This can then be further exploited by individual sherry brands. The overall campaign retaining a central point of control to ensure consistency of appearance and messaging.

The “sherry explorer” theme is important here. Producers can set out their different flagship products under the generic sherry brand. All styles of sherry — fino, amontillado, manzanilla, oloroso, palo cortado, traditional cream types, PX — lack brand identity. The wider public will learn that these are all indeed types of sherry and then told the differences between them.

There are many types of sherry

Two angles successfully used in other spirits are a) use in cocktails and b) use in chilled long-drink formats. Both of these are eminently feasible with sherry. Promotional materials could detail the ingredients and procedures to make sherry cocktails. The campaign could show sherry as a cooling long drink when mixed with soda.


Price is a major advantage for sherry since it simply costs much less than wines of comparable quality and complexity. This is almost an advantage of being unfashionable. Successful marketing could employ this.

The strategy is to leverage off “gateway brands.” This does not mean the traditional cream styles. The houses all have entry-level product as an entry point for new consumers and is very reasonably priced. Giving the impression that sherry is cheap should nevertheless be avoided. The range includes vintage product of very high quality.


The main target group is young consumers. Market research could examine whether any existing consumers will trade up. It appears unlikely that the archetypical grandmother who has been drinking Bristol Cream for a lifetime is suddenly going to branch out into aggressively dry aged fino. However, there may be an opportunity to reach some high- involvement consumers who have hitherto focussed on non-fortified wines.


The target group is younger consumers. The marketing demographic name for them is “Millennial Treaters.” So it is inevitable that social media must play a prominent role. Posters are best placed on bus stop billboards initially. They must be tested for efficiency of spend against social media. The initial aim of the campaign is to drive traffic to so it is essential that there is a great deal of engaging and valuable content there.

Driving such traffic is best done with short-form video content in the line of Instagram stories or posts from online influencers. Both will be expensive if effective. Posters are effective in timelines. “See link in bio” is a valuable tag to point consumers to the web page.

Consider approaching US-based hispanic celebrities to market the product in Spanish to the worldwide Spanish speaking community. This largely untouched group which might be amenable to a heritage-based line.

Sherry Marketing: Price Promotion

Price promotions would support the campaign. Since the aim of the campaign is to drive web traffic, one approach might be to offer vouchers on the website. These are redeemable for discounts on a BOGOF or other basis.

The redemption could take place in person, but there is no particular reason why it has to be. Online sales are an increasingly important part of every market and will continue to play a significant role. The website could feature separate areas highlighting the products offered by major producers and allowing a central method of buying the product. Major producers already have a solid web presence. They may want traffic directed back to them. This is not a serious problem.

Something central and online is still available to minor producers who will benefit from a clear and well- known online location offering distribution to end customers. Some major producers have an efficient and reliable web operation. Link swaps between their websites and are useful for both. Certainly, major producers who are behind the curve in terms of online presence will learn from best practice.

It will be valuable if the same promotions can be available across a wide selection of producers on the same discount basis, but this may be difficult to negotiate.

Sherry Marketing Through Buy-in

Given the essentially Spanish and indeed regional Spanish nature of the product, it will be useful to promote travel to the region. This can also form the basis of useful promotional spend. The website can run competitions, perhaps on the basis of sherry quizzes or just on the basis of luck, where the prizes will be trips to Jerez including tours of bodegas. Rare bottles make attractive prizes.

There is significant buy-in to the product from major critics such as Jancis Robinson. This is helpful, but it means that it is not easy to say how to improve buy-in further. Obviously the launch of a central website would be a significant event in the wine world and so should generate coverage which is likely to be positive. Steps to encourage the such coverage in the right direction are always useful.

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