Is The French Wine Industry In Crisis?

French Wine Industry In CrisisIn the process of making this blog ever more interesting, and more outreaching to the public, I decided to start blogging more about new worth and interesting topics that are both newer and market targeted.

Of course, I will still write the occasional more personal blog post here and there, but my goal is to reach a larger and new audience with more in depth specific topics such as this one.

Is the French wine market in danger?

The industry of the wine has changed greatly. More and more people all over the world do now drink red and white wine, if not on a daily basis like the French do, at least on a regular basis.

It used to be a time where French winemakers were basically making a living with consumers in France only, and maybe just a few neighboring countries, but today, the wine market has grown so much that even countries that were absolutely not known to make wine in the old days are making wine today.  Ironically, those new wine makers, while still very far from making the wine quality that France produces,  are now direct competitors to the old world wine maker which is France.

The result of this, and few other problems, involving the French wine industry is that some winemakers have to simply waste good wine into making something else with it because of lack of selling it.  But why is that?

What’s happening with French Wine Makers?

It happens that in the good old days, all that French winemakers had to do is worry about was making a good to superior wine and then the wine would sell itself. They never had to think “marketing” or even trying to “please” a certain population or market.  They already knew that they would be pleasing them “their” market.

They were making wine first and then selling it. That would seems logical, right?

We make a product and them we sell it!

Well, no, not exactly anymore, and not even for wine.

Nowadays, “new winemakers” are thinking marketing FIRST and making wine second. Actually, France is not the only one that has been making wine first and thinking of selling it second, most of the old wine makers in Europe have thought that way, but it appears that’s why the Australian, Chilean, Argentinian and other new wine-marketers are growing their market while some Bordeaux wine-makers are in the verge of bankruptcy.

It appears that those new wine-marketers make wine only once they’ve understood their market, for example, making ONLY the quantity that they are going to sell and matching the demand in price and quality that matches such market.  This new behavior doesn’t seem to be what French winemakers are doing right now.

WineAtWork.com says that “these days, people who want to succeed in selling their wines look at the market and what it wants before they even crush a grape.” It seems that French wine-makers is not doing this well, yet and has a learning dysfunction when it comes to adapt to new markets.

The Main Conflict Between Old Wine-makers and New Market

It used to be a time, when the wine marketer was smaller, and the good old wine was purchased in those wineries or specific wine stores where the the consumer had to come to the wine, and not the other way around.  Now however, it appears that the largest wine selling happens in supermarkets, where people want both a good and cheap wine. And that’s when the wine really comes to the consumer now. Which means that if there is no wine, then there is no consumer. That’s as simple as that!

One thing that I remember well from my days in France is that both good and cheap, when it came to wine, just didn’t existed. I remember how mediocre wines in supermarket were, the first day I ever tasted a Beaujolais wine from a wine maker.

Well, the main reason why French wine is in trouble is that it seems that French wine-makers have trouble getting used to that idea.

So, while according to experts, France has no rival when it comes to make the most profound fine wines, they have rivals when it comes to make and commercialize more casual wines for the largest market, which nowadays, is not interested in paying $60 or more for a bottle of wine, but more interested in a good wine that they can easily afford.

According to my research, it seems that France needs to rethinking its wine making/industry, and its wine commercialization, but this goes all the way into political decisions and changing a very, very old way of thinking wine in France.

Two Wine Cultures

There are two wine cultures today, and it seems that the gap between the two is growing.

There is the people that want to buy cheap and good enough wine at the supermarket. I have to admit, I am one of those people, and there are the fewer ones that are wine connoisseurs who can taste where the grapes grew and at what altitude under how much sun. But those are not what can help French wine-makers compete with the worldwide wine competition.

True, great wine depends on soil types, climate, viticulture and wine-making process and practices, but the guy who buy his affordable to cheap wine at the supermarket “like me” doesn’t care about that.

The new world of wine making doesn’t really care about that either. What they care about is selling the wine to the general public. And frankly that’s working great for them!

This is where old tradition French wine-makers are going to have to make some changes and learn to adapt to the market if they want to remain the top wine selling in the world, because the real wine “amateur” is kind of dwindling while the common wine drinking is growing.

It’s a known fact that it takes time to change old thinking patterns. And France is an old country and wine-making there is as old as the country. So, while the resistance its having with new wine-making is understandable, they need to change their mind and see what’s coming if they want to stay ahead in the wine market.

I hope this article helped and educated you in better understanding what’s going on with the French wine market.

Now, please, leave your comments below.

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12 Comments

  • Sherryl Perry says:

    Sylviane,

    Thanks for the insight into what’s happening in the wine industry. As someone who prefers to drink domestic wine produced in the USA, I admit that I would never spend $60 or more for a bottle of wine from France. (Actually the closest I’ve ever got to visiting France is the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. :) )

    I agree with you that France needs to rethink its wine industry if they want to compete globally.

    • Hi Sherryl,

      Hum so you’re partial to US wine :)

      No, that’s not that I’ve never spent a lot of money on a special wine. I have a few times, but since I drink wine everyday with my meals like Americans drink soda :) I won’t buy wine at such price on a regular basis. Now when I’m rich, I will :)

      So, to speak seriously, that’s the point; people want wine but not at $60 a bottle for the most part. That’s what I was saying in the post, and that’s what French wine-makers need to understand.

      Thanks for coming and for your support :)
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Is The French Wine Industry In Crisis?My Profile

  • Donna MerrillTwitter: donna_tribe says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    I’m sure glad I read this post. Like you, I do drink wine with my dinner instead of soda! I don’t like USA wines very much. My husband used to work at a French Restaurant when he was in college. He learned so much about wine tasting. When we do find a good French wine on sale at the wine stores, we do snatch it up. (not the $60 bottle yet)

    Thanks for the tip I really do appreciate it.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill invites you to read..Developing A Social Media CampaignMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post about wine. I posted it on Linkedin since I belong to French and wine groups there and I’m getting lots of feedback there :)

      What they call the “New World” is changing the wine market and French winemakers are not too happy about it.

      Thank for your faithful support and have a fantastic week!
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Is The French Wine Industry In Crisis?My Profile

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Hi Sylviane

    I love this post as I do understand quite a bit about the wine industry. My husband and I used to raise money for some big wine projects here in Australia and we learned a lot about the industry.

    I love French wine but seldom drink it these days because of affordability. Australia ads tax to imported wines to protect our industry here so they become very expensive. The one thing we do buy for special occasions in French champagne. It is so much better than the bubbly stuff we make.

    Australia is market driven as you say but there are also some little wineries that make expensive good wine.

    We mainly drink Australian or New Zealand as they have some good wines too.

    Thanks for sharing this information Sylviane.

    Sue
    Sue Price invites you to read..Baby Boomers : Solution to Retirement ConcernsMy Profile

    • Hi Sue,

      As I was writing this article, I was remembering how you told me that your husband is a wine fanatic, and I’m sure he’d like to read this too. I saw that you’ve tagged him with the post on Facebook :)

      I don’t blame you for drinking Australian and New Zealand wines as it makes perfect sense. I think that French wine needs to have both markets a more sophisticated and expensive one, but a more affordable one too.

      I’ve got lots of feed backs on Linkedin with this topic :)

      Thanks for coming and have a great week, Sue.
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Is The French Wine Industry In Crisis?My Profile

  • Lisa Magoulas says:

    Sylviane,
    I LOVE wine and this article was so cool. First off, I didn’t realize all French wine was pricey. I have to admit, I only tried a very expensive French wine once and it wasn’t pleasing to my palate. Is there a reason why it’s more money? Is it the type of grape, the way it’s harvested, aged, etc? I do like trying different types of wine and would love to learn more about it. We all have our own palates, I know that for sure. It’d be sad so see such a wonderful tradition be lost. Thanks for the insight. Have a great night – Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      I ‘m not sure what makes some French wine so expensive, but I am sure it has to do with the making of the wine more than anything else. I know what you mean, expensive doesn’t always mean that you’re going to like it either. At times you might not like at all :)

      I think that some French wines are way to expensive and they need to bring their prices down.

      I wish you could read French. I posted this post on a Linkedin group I belong to that’s all about wine, but the feedback is all in French :) I’m learning from them, there’re experts.

      Thanks for coming and nice to see you again, by the way!
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..How Is It To Fly With Air France?My Profile

      • Lisa Magoulas says:

        I just love wine and need to attend more tastings. I belonged to a wine club for a while, which was cool, I got 12 bottles delivered from all over the world like four times a year. It was cool – but recording was expensive. I wish I could read French too. I need to be better with my languages. It’s on my bucket list. :) Well, if you keep sharing what you’re learning, I’ll be happy. :) Thanks, I’m glad to be back. I made a decision to cut a lot out so I could focus on the people and things that were more important to me.

  • Jeremy Norton says:

    Thank you for this post Sylviane. French wines are one of the best and I do hope that the industry would last for a lifetime. Changes may be made, but I do hope it will still stand.

    • Dipra says:

      Hi Jeremy,
      You are absolutely right. I’m from India which is not a good place for wine but ‘2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay’ and ‘2006 Bourgogne Pinot Noir’ are always in the top 10 in India. I hope the problem is temporary.

  • Macky Blaise says:

    Now I understand the reason why… Wine is an important part of Australian culture,,,

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