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Wine saved by local events.

Lorenzo Biscontin

I start this article by reporting an anecdote recently told on Linkedin by Priscilla Hennekam, a young Australian-Brazilian consultant in the wine sector.

The wine industry is the only industry that I know who tells the customer they are WRONG.
I was having breakfast with Eduardo Cruz in our hotel in Germany, and we started to talk about the new generation and modern consumer behaviour. One of the waiters in the hotel was around 20 years old, so Eduardo asked him – “Do you drink wine?”
The young man answered: “Yes, sometimes with my friends in the afternoon. My uncle gives me a case of expensive wines every month, but I don’t like them, I much prefer the cheaper ones.”
The guy sitting next to us heard the conversation and interrupted – “Why are you drinking cheaper wines if you can drink the expensive wines that your uncle gives to you? It doesn’t make sense”. The poor younger man started to get nervous and tried to justify his answer saying, “Before, I didn’t drink wines, now I do, maybe my palate will get more mature with time”, and the rude guy said “Yes, you need to grow up”.

Among the comments I find particularly interesting that of Emanuele Mazzola, Italian panettiere (as he calls himself) bakery executive chef of Cipriani New York:

“That’s exactly the reason I sometimes choose beer over wine, some people make me feel uncomfortable when choosing cheap wines, like I should be ashamed, so I turn to beers. Really bad for wine industry.”

For further confirmation (it’s the last quote, I promise) I quote the comment on the same post by Robert Joseph, famous English journalist and consultant:

“One UK-based wine writer recently suggested (on social media) that liking what he thought of as the ‘wrong’ wine was ‘moral failure’.”

In this scenario, how can we bring new consumers closer to wine? Perhaps the answer can come from local events.

I don’t know if they were already there before and I didn’t realize it, but it seems to me that in Italy there is a strong increase in provincial / regional / supra-regional events that bring together producers both from the territory and from all over Italy and abroad.

We have already talked about some here on Vinophila and we will continue to talk about those to come.

All these events have two elements in common:

– They are aimed above all at the final consumer, rather than at industry practitioners.

– The participating wineries are small producers.

Many provide the possibility of purchasing directly at the “fair”, maximizing the concept of direct knowledge between producer and consumer.

Above all, their profile and set up is one of a fest, festival, “convivium” rather than “liturgy”.

Places and situations in which to spend a pleasant afternoon which, also thanks to their diffusion and proximity in the area, can attract people who simply like wine, without needing to be (or appear to be) expert enthusiasts.

Places and situations where (hopefully) people don’t have to be ashamed of their tastes.

Because continuing to preach to the converted leads on the one hand to premiumization, but on the other to the uprooting of vineyards.

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