France determined to challenge New World on price

28 March, 2013

Vin de France has urged retailers to put French wines on gondola ends as often as possible in a bid to attract younger drinkers with wines in the £5-8 bracket.

The organisation was started in 2009 to promote wines of French identification that do not focus heavily on a particular region through a Best Value Vin de France competition.

Each year the number of entrants has grown and there were 292 entries for the 2013 competition.

Only 30% can win medals, and global judges awarded 16 gold and 72 silver medals.

Director Valérie Pajotin said: “We are promoting wines with a national identity – not a regional identity.

“We are all about France fighting other countries, not about French regions fighting each other.

“It is about promoting France as a brand, like our New World friends do.

“Our ambition is to have young British shoppers starting with France.

“People are starting with the New World and then finally moving on to France but we want to change that.

“We don’t want it to only be for experts who have been drinking wine for 40 years.”

Patojin is well aware that price is a key factor for younger shoppers.

She said: “You can’t attract younger people with £10 wines – it has to be between £5-8. Montgravet is selling really well at £5 at Waitrose. Montpierre is at Sainsbury’s, La Chasse is in many retailers.

“We are fighting with countries that are cutting prices.

“Consumers need to know that France is not only AOC, not only expensive wine. It’s very good value for money with wines that compete on quality and price.

“We need to be in the gondola end as much as possible – the business is there.”

The selection of winners was launched at the France Under One Roof tasting.

Patojin said retailers have reacted well to the competition and the selection because it “simplifies the French offer” with recognisable products that compete at different price categories.

Andrew Shaw, head of buying at Bibendum, said: “Vin de France is a brilliant concept and I was a huge supporter when it was launched in 2009 when I was a buyer at Waitrose. We took it on with force at Waitrose – and with the variety, vintage and clear branding as cues, why wouldn’t you? It’s probably France’s best denomination and certainly its clearest.”

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