Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

Make Closures Consumer-Friendly

August 2012
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
Regular readers of Wines & Vines will recognize headlines like this: Natural Cork TCA Incidence Drops; Synthetic Corks Most Consistent in Oxygen Transfer; Does Glass Make the Ultimate Closure?; Screwcaps Claim Low Carbon Footprint, etc.

However, most of the heated debate about closures and other parts of the wine package dodges a very simple and very important question: What does the consumer want? Or, to put a finer point on it: What would the consumer like if it was placed in front of her? I think that too few wineries are asking this question.

As someone who interacts daily with wine bottles as a consumer, I can easily find inspiration for this topic. One example came from a consumer-friendly bottle of Chardonnay waiting for me in the fridge after work one hot evening in July.

The convenience scenario
When I came home from the office, I wanted a glass of wine and looked in the refrigerator to see if anything was chilled. As luck would have it, my wife had bought several bottles of Kunde Estate Chardonnay, and there was one of them, nice and cold.

I reached for it and realized that it had a screwcap. A feeling of happiness and almost relief came over me. Seriously. I was not going to find the capsule cutter and the corkscrew. All I would have to do is:

• Unscrew the cap

• Pour

It hit me that I welcomed the ease of this packaging. I still appreciate the pop of a cork, but I really just want to get to the enjoyment part of the wine. What other measures of convenience would we consumers appreciate?

Not alone anymore
If editors of wine industry magazines are the only ones with this view, then it’s no big deal. But look at how much wine consumption has changed. Two generations of Americans have now grown up with wine. More and more people choose it over beer as their go-to beverage. When the recession hit, consumption increased even more, and during the past year off-premise sales of domestic table wine have gone up 7%.

I am not alone anymore. The wine industry wanted loyal, weekly and daily wine drinkers in North America, and now it has them in the tens of millions. But so many wine marketers still act as if the packaging is stuck in time, that every bottle must appeal to Victorian tastes.

Regular wine drinkers already love wine. They know they’re going to drink it. They want convenience from the package, and they get the romance from the wine itself.

Too few people realize that quality wine doesn’t have to be hard to open. It doesn’t have to be too tall to stand on a refrigerator shelf or too easily breakable to take to an outdoor concert, because they’ve never experienced other packaging options.

Coca-Cola’s example
One speaker at the Wine Industry Technology Symposium in July had a good view about pleasing the customer. Jeff Tinker, a senior vice president for Wells Fargo, said the bank has been emulating an approach long used by Coca-Cola to understand its customers’ interactions with their products. “You follow the product home to see what the consumer does with it.”

Tinker gave the example of Coke looking at how people used their 12-packs at home. The company discovered that it was difficult for customers to fit the pack in the refrigerator, and even more difficult to pull out a can if they did fit it in. Coke redesigned the 12-pack to be slimmer and with a different opening so that it didn’t have to be dismantled for consumers to grab a can. Wells Fargo has applied the same approach, Tinker said. “When we’re building something today, there’s not a right way for the customer to use it.”

Give them options
I think the path is wide open for more wineries to discover how consumers prefer to interact with their products. I suspect they will welcome lighter packages that are easier to open and easier to store. The closure doesn’t have to be a screwcap; it could be something made out of natural cork that’s easy to pull, or a Zork or a glass stopper, or something else that hasn’t been invented yet. Container options such as 187ml plastic bottles, foil pouches, cartons, ceramic bottles and even cans are winning consumer acceptance.

It’s just smart for wineries to offer alternate package designs and see what consumers go for. Wine drinkers will recognize a good thing when they try it, but only if you give them the opportunity.

 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $570 million
6%
$7,775 million
6%
October 2013 $539 million $7,342 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $284 million
18%
$1,751 million
13%
October 2013 $240 million $1,556 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 139
6%
226
18%
October 2013 131 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 11.13.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • November 24-25
     
    World Bulk Wine Exhibition
     
  • December 2-4
     
    Vinitech Sifel in Bordeaux
     
  • December 3
     
    Sustainable/Organic Wine Production Seminar
     
  • December 4
     
    North Coast Wine Industry Expo
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Kluge Saga Continues in Virginia »
 
Not everybody likes Pat Kluge, but she and Moses built a first class winery /...
Reader: Josh Moser
 
Article: Canada Adapts to Kegged Wines »
 
I am a wine agent in Manitoba & there certainly are kegs of cider here....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Event Service Lead
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Retail Wine Specialist
 Parker, CO
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Sales Representative
 South Florida, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Landscaper
 Oakville, CA
General Administration and
 Maintenance Mechanic
 Santa Rosa, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Senior Overheads Analy...
 Napa, CA
Finance
 Innovation/A&P Finance...
 Napa, CA
Finance
 Cellar Worker Level 2
 Sonoma, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Vineyard Manager
 Amity, OR
Vineyards
 Jde Programmer
 Tracy, CA
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.