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Interesting debates going on from Harpers 3rd Champagne Summit.
Early indications suggest that communication is the key to make Champagne understood in everyday marketplace.
Other notable points brought up say that Champagne houses need to be more aware of social media. As an ever dominant source of information in our everyday lives, Champagne houses need to be more proactive in the use of social media.
Education from the same producers was another key point. As people who work in the trade, we are left trying to translate what it is that makes Champagne what it is. We are the middlemen trying to explain what makes Champagne differ from other countries sparkling wine. More open advice from the producers is recommended to help get the message across to the general public.
These are just a few points worth thinking about.
Listening to the views from independent traders against the multiple specialist shows just how valuable it is to listen and work with customers. The multiples have a very blinkered outlook in what their customers want. Listening to the Sainsbury’s speaker was a prime example of a big corporation putting a political spin on what was a very simple question. How do you go about educating your people and customers?
Searcy’s put there staff through a 3 day Champagne academy, allowing them to learn and share what they have learnt with their customers. Simple answer to a simple question.
Interesting day so far.
The day finished up with a shortened Q&A session with events sponsors, Moët & Chandon, Laurent Perrier, Pommery, Taittinger and Champagne de Castlenau.
I felt, between the producers there was a mixed message going out. Some were not to keen on using their brands for food and wine matching.
Some believed that their wines should only be drunk as aperitifs or for celebratory purposes.
Others were only focusing on selling to the on trade, alienating the many thousands of independent retailers out there.
One believed that vintage Champagnes will be the way forward as non vintage Champagnes are too difficult for the general public to understand. Surely that last point falls under the education section which was being spoken about earlier in the conference. If it’s difficult to understand, make it easy to understand and talk to your customers. Don’t just bury your head in the sand.
Communication was mentioned again. The panel though couldn’t come up with any resolutions on how best to communicate themselves and their products.
So, the summit draws to a close with Harpers announcing the winners to their annual Champagne awards. A couple of winners to mention, Champagne Jayne – 2012 Educator of the Year and Majestic – Best Buying Team. Well done.