Posts Tagged ‘Sommelier Journal’

Report: American Association of Wine Economists-“Modeling Perceptions Of Locally Produced Wine Among Restauranteurs In New York City”

Manhattan's BAR VELOCE uploaded from BAR VELOCE's flickr stream

Manhattan's BAR VELOCE uploaded from BAR VELOCE's flickr stream

I was just alerted to this paper by Twitter friend Tish of WineForAll.com. The abstract summary of the paper written by Trent Preszler and Todd M. Schmit for American Association of Wine Economists reads,

“Poor perceived product quality, an inadequate sales force, and intense competition from wines produced elsewhere are common reasons cited for why New York wines have not achieved broad acceptance in the New York City (NYC) market. NYC restaurant owners, sommeliers, and chefs were surveyed regarding their perceptions and purchasing decisions of wines grown and bottled in New York State. Factor analysis was applied to examine the structure of interrelationships among key indicators of product perception, and an ordinal logistic regression model was used to identify the characteristics of restaurants that show a strong propensity to adopt local wines. The results indicate that a NYC restaurant’s type of cuisine does not affect its propensity to adopt local wine, nor does a restaurant’s desire to offer a large, geographically diverse wine list. The perceived collective reputation for a wine region’s excellence in one particular grape varietal was found to be the most significant factor in the probability of adoption of local wines in NYC. An important implication of these results is that being local is not enough, and New York winery stakeholders could establish a more prominent presence in NYC by emphasizing their collective reputation for particular grape varietals.”

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Wines produced in New York (NY) have traditionally been shut out of the upscale New York City (NYC) market. Nearly 75 percent of gross revenue at small independent NY wineries is earned directly from consumers in the winery tasting room
  • Market impediments for premium NY wines could be underscored by the long-standing association of NY with high-volume jug wines made using native and French-hybrid grapes.
  • Price is another factor, with lingering doubts by consumers that local wines can justify the same prices as imports.
  • Sommeliers experience wine differently, using intrinsic cues such as flavor, aroma, and color to guide buying decisions, and are driven by different economic motivations.
  • The most important factor influencing wine purchase decisions from this sample of upscale NYC restaurants was the wine’s “Quality for Price Point.”
  • Factors of relatively less importance included “Personal Relationships” that related to personal relationships with wholesalers/distributors or the winery/winemaker , as well as wholesaler/distributor wine recommendations.
  • The absence of strong NY wine sales in NYC is not necessarily due to a predominantly negative image of the product quality, nor to high prices. Instead, low sales in NYC can likely be attributed to the lack of any specific image at all. The regional brand identity of NY wine is not strongly defined because it is not explicitly communicated, and therefore is not universally understood by those who set trends in the culinary industry. A coalescence of marketing goals and principles among NY winery stakeholders could make a difference in this regard.

But wait, with all of the acclaim that Finger Lakes wine, especially Riesling, has garnered this past year, will we see an increase in the adoption of local wines in New York City in the coming years?   A strong, focused effort to communicate a world-class wine message is being made by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association and the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. (Disclosure:  both are clients of Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing)  Although I have mentioned the locavore trend as one that may help to gain a foothold in the trendy, upscale NYC market, this paper states that “it is simply not enough to base a marketing platform on being local unless it is accompanied by strong associations with excellence and focused production priorities.”

Communicating with sommeliers requires a separate, focused strategy.  This article in Sommelier Journal was a nice one to begin educating them about the region.  Perhaps some follow up with NYC sommeliers is in order, and may be on the agenda already.

It seems clear that the wheels are in motion with communication strategies being executed to elevate the image of the Finger Lakes wine industry and Finger Lakes Wine Country.  As my friend, Michael Wangbickler at Cave Man Wines Blog recently stated while we were speaking about communications strategies, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

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Cheers! From Melissa’s Desk

The Vista from Atwater Estate Vineyards

The Vista from Atwater Estate Vineyards

For Week of 10/6/08:

  • This week, freelance writer Patricia Savoie featured The Finger Lakes in a seven-page spread in Sommelier Journal. The publication has carved out a niche as “the only magazine specifically targeting restaurant wine professionals. Wine retailers, importers and distributors, winemakers, and serious wine consumers will all be strong secondary markets. In fact, anyone who is serious about wine will be interested in this magazine.” There is also a forum post about the article beginning a discussion debating whether or not one of the reasons that the Finger Lakes wine industry has not been able to break out into the mainstream is due to lack of production. Thus far, only Bob Madill of Sheldrake Point Vineyard and Finger Lakes Wine Alliance has responded with his views. If you have a moment, and would like to provide your insight into the wine industry in the Finger Lakes, go to the forum and set up a profile so that your views can be heard. These types of forums are valuable, free educational and marketing vehicles that can create two-way conversations and drive further understanding and awareness to the region as well as to you and your winery as a source of information and quality wine.  And it shows that you’re plugged in and interested in supporting the efforts of your fellow winery owners.
  • Looking for further insight into how social media can help you?  See a recent post by Judd Wallenbrock, Owner & Founder, Humanitas Winery; President/GM, Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate, and check out the comments section to decide for yourself.  Judd explores how blogs and other social media platforms allow for the return of two-way conversation in the wine world.
  • The Wine Bloggers Conference is just over a week away with over 150 wine bloggers from across the U. S. expected to attend and participate.  Lenn Thompson at LENNDEVOURS blog was the driving force behind creating an opportunity for an informal tasting of New York wines during the conference.  See Lenn’s post and thoughts on the upcoming conference here.  Lenn and I are both planning on representing and educating attendees about the wines of New York within casual conversations as well as during the tastings.  Many of the attendees originally connected via a social network called Open Wine Consortium.   I highly recommend visiting the site, poking through the content, forums, groups and members and setting up a profile for yourself.  This site attracts the thought leaders in the industry, those who are pushing the envelope and embracing new technologies because of the power these strategies have for wineries and wine businesses.  If you haven’t participated in social networks much, I recommend setting up a profile, filling it out completely including links to your website and a clear description of who you are and what your business is.  Then you may want to “lurk” for a bit, or just look around at the conversations taking place, utilize the search function and look for content relevant to your wine business, AVA or related subjects and once you feel comfortable, start by joining into a discussion and posting your views.  Avoid pitching yourself/your business or using marketing speak in your posts as these types of posts will be seen as self-promoting and will turn off members.  The purpose is to collaborate, educate and add to the conversation rather than push your wares.  There is a strong sense of community among members of OWC which is now being taken offline and to the Wine Bloggers Conference.

Cheers to you until next week and thank you to all of my wine friends who have been extremely supportive and helpful in introducing me to their wine friends…it is very much appreciated!

Melissa