Wines & Vines Home
Welcome Guest

Attracting 'New Luxury' Consumers

Workshop focuses on reaching modern upscale consumers

by Tina Caputo
Attracting 'New Luxury' Consumers
Taylor Bryant
Napa, Calif. -- When it comes to high-end wine, it takes more than a quality product and attractive packaging to grab the attention of upscale consumers. Perhaps the most important selling point for luxury consumers is "brand authenticity"--the perception that a product is crafted with integrity, using non-industrial methods.

Panelists discussed this concept during a workshop called "Trading Up: The Sustainability of Luxury Brands," presented at the Wine Industry Financial Symposium on Sept. 17. Participants included William Amspacher, Ph.D., professor of agribusiness at Cal Poly; Taylor Bryant, executive VP/chief marketing officer, Mullen Agency; Chris Canning, director of Calistoga Beverage Company; and Russell Joy, president/GM of Patz & Hall Wine Co., who moderated the discussion.

When considering a price increase in the luxury category, Amspacher said, wine marketers should first consider how "elastic" the demand is for their product. Will customers respond to a price increase by buying less of the product, or by buying someone else's wine instead? It's important to steer consumers away from "substitutes" by differentiating your wine from others in the marketplace, he said.

One way to set your product apart from the competition is by establishing brand authenticity. Luxury consumers want to feel like the products they buy are made according to tradition, Amspacher said, using artisan methods. Often they are associated with a particular region.

New luxury consumers

Taylor Bryant, of Massachusetts-based Mullen Agency, also emphasized the importance of authenticity. "It's a huge ingredient in the luxury goods market," he said. Bryant spoke of "new luxury consumers" as an influential target for high-end wines. Not quite at the level of "affluent," these consumers have household incomes ranging from $80,000 to $125,000 and gravitate toward brands like BMW, Viking and Belvedere (vodka). "Old luxury consumers" prefer more traditional brands like Rolls Royce and Bombay Sapphire, he said.

Rather than choosing products for status reasons, "new luxury consumers" focus on pampering themselves with high-end experiences. "There has to be an intangible element of your brand" to connect with this consumer, Bryant said. It must make an emotional connection to the consumer, and have rational support to back it up.

This category of consumers doesn't shop according to price, and is more likely to spread the world about a brand or experience via the Internet--a characteristic that makes them particularly influential. Consumers in the "new luxury" category are also enthusiastic wine drinkers--a recent survey showed that 24% of participants consumed 4-9 glasses within the previous week.

"New luxury consumers do a lot of homework before buying," Bryant said. Therefore, your website should enhance the image of your wine.

Repositioning for the luxury market

While the image of a wine brand is important, it should be backed up by its production methods and company philosophy. Chris Canning, of Calistoga Beverage Co., illustrated this point with a case study of his brand's repositioning strategy. In 2007, the company launched a program to position the brand, which started as a bottler of mineral water, as "the premium beverage company for health-conscious adults."

It began by taking Calistoga out of Nestle's main portfolio and relocating the brand to Northern California. In order to appeal to health-minded, environmentally conscious consumers, Calistoga stopped using artificial flavorings and colors, began sourcing organic ingredients and started packaging its products in recycled glass bottles. The brand pulled out of Safeway and Costco stores, and focused on upscale natural food stores.

After three months of implementing this strategy, Canning said, revenues have dropped. However, he expects the brand to be profitable by the first quarter of 2008.
Currently no comments posted for this article.

Wines & Vines Home
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
Wine Industry Metrics
Off-Premise Sales
IRI Channels »
Month   12 Months  
October 2015 $604 million
$8,267 million
October 2014 $572 million $7,790 million
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2015 $288 million
$1,919 million
October 2014 $284 million $1,751 million
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2015 179
October 2014 139 226
MORE » Released on 11.13.2015


Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
Download full report »


Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
Search the PWV archive »

  • December 2
    2015 UC Davis Grape Day
  • December 3
    North Coast Wine Industry Expo
  • December 5-6
    Holidays in the Vineyards
  • January 13-14
    DtC Wine Symposium
  • MORE »

Article: Kronenberg Leaves Legacy of DtC Opportunities »
This is amusing. While I do not quarrel with Paul's many contributions over the years,...
Reader: Guest
Article: Kronenberg Leaves Legacy of DtC Opportunities »
Wow! This this a re-writing of history! As a founder and namer of Family Winemakers...
Reader: Guest
Article: Can Wine Grapes Be Grown Without Chemicals? »
It sounds like your problem is with semantics, not with the application of products to...
Reader: Carol Collier
Article: Cuvaison Upgrades to Second Generation of Pellenc Sorter »
I'd like to know what they are doing with the sorted stuff, especially the first...
Reader: Matthew Delicata
Article: Growers Suffer Low Yields in Paso Robles »
This year's Paso Robles/San Miguel "mature" Cabernet Sauvignon yields were down to 30% of normal while...
Reader: Guest

2016 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
Wines & Vines Magazine
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
Latest Job Listings
 Bottling Line Technici...
 Clarksburg, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Regional Sales Directo...
 Northeast Us, NA
Sales and Marketing
 Direct To Consumer Man...
 Stonewall, TX
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Senior Hospitality Man...
 Sonoma, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Compliance Specialist
 Santa Rosa, CA
General Administration and
 Wine Club Manager
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Hospitality Lead
 Yountville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Director Of Sales
 Southern California, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Vice President-Sales A...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Key Account Manager-Of...
 Midwest- Multiple Positions In Selected Cities, FL
Sales and Marketing
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:

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

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2001-2015 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.