The 2023 edition of the Wine Future Conference was held in Coimbra, Portugal, from 7 to 9 November.
Three intense days of work sessions in which the most important issues concerning the wine business on a global level were addressed with speakers of absolute importance, also coming from different sectors to broaden the vision and escape from the wine bubble (one above all Bruce Dickinson frontman of Iron Maiden).
At the end of the conference there was a summary session, during which Francisco Campo, CEO of the event, made two extremely significant considerations.
As an organizer he said he was happy with the excellent outcome of the event (I agree), at the same time as a professional in the wine business he is worried by the fact that many issues are repeated substantially the same year after year.
Indeed, topics such as aging of consumers, transition from frequent to occasional/celebratory wine consumption, adoption of digital technologies, need to understand the different need and wants of different consumer segments or sustainability have been the subject of discussion in the wine sector for at least five years now.
Thanks to these widespread analyses, the problems are now clearly defined, as are the possible solutions. Solutions that largely require new strategies and activities compared to those with which the sector has functioned up to now. One almost gets the impression that operators struggle to leave their “comfort zone” due to laziness, fear of innovation or something else. Whatever the reason, we must find a way to move from analysis to operations because the evolution of markets, consumers and climate have created a new and complex scenario in which hoping to obtain different results by continuing to do the same things is wishful thinking.
The other consideration is connected to the first: Campo underlined the need to change the message if we want to recover the large segments of consumers of alcoholic beverages who are moving away from wine.
And the message must be changed in the contents, it is not enough to update the channels and communication style.
In fact, observing the digital communication of wineries and wine influencers, we notice how it is often traditional content (vineyard, territory, passion, tradition, family) conveyed in new forms.
While it is precisely these contents that are of little relevance, if not intimidating, for many who do not drink wine or drink it occasionally.
Wine needs more brands whose founding and differentiating values go beyond the technical characteristics and represent benefits for people.
In other words, not all consumers are interested in lessons in geology, botany, agronomy and biochemistry, however they are told.