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Should you throw a wine festival?

Wine Festival

The following is an extract from our The Festival Opportunity ebook, which you can download here.

On-Trade festivals and events are of growing importance: millennials are spending £3,750 a year on going-out1, much of it being spent on what has been dubbed, the experience economy. For these younger consumers, variety is indeed the spice of life – with regular Friday nights in the local being swapped something a little bit different. Through festival style activations, the trade can tap into the desires of consumers to try something new, while keeping the experience of the On-Trade fresh and relevant.

During the summer months, especially one as hot as this year, wine typically takes a dip as consumers reach for cold beers, fruit ciders and fruity cocktails2. However, as we move into the autumn, wine once again comes into focus. Better wine ranges in the trend have been cited as one of the principal factors in increasing the number of women drinking out. Women are significantly more likely than men to visit pubs and bars with their friends3. Groups of friends are responsible for some of the highest levels of spending in the On-Trade. Mintel reports that groups generate the highest share of £25+ spending.

There are many types of wine festival you could organise. You could use the event as the perfect way to develop your own wine list. Discuss with your account manager some potential options and use the occasion to gauge customer feedback on your wines. Your Matthew Clark account manager will be able to arrange a tasting for you. You can have as few or many wines as you like, either offering a special promotion on the glass or creating a package, ‘try 3 wines and vote for your favourite’- anything that creates a little theatre. Think about food and matching your menu to your featured wines or just have nibbles - cheese and wine nights prove very popular. Beyond food, think about wine and activity matching, for example, Argentine wines and Tango lessons!
What sort of event could you run?

Organic Wines

The organic market in the UK was expected to exceed £2.2 billion in sales by the end of 2017, up by 6.3%4. Organic and Sustainable wines are high up on the agenda of Urban Professionals and Mature Foodies. Both demographic groups are key On-Trade spenders. Urban Professionals & Mature Foodies are wine engaged and their On-Trade wine spend is 35% higher than the UK average. Critically, Sustainable and Organic products are already woven into the other key trends of health, wellbeing, simplicity, premiumisation and sensorial experiences. Organic wines appeal to young professionals, affluent spenders, and trendsetters and followers as well as older consumers with more conservative tastes and spend.

Seasonal Wines

Autumn is almost certainly the best time of year to promote seasonality within your wine range. There is something about the season that connects it to wine, the leaves are turning golden, the log fires are getting lit again, the sun gives us that orange glow as it starts to set a little earlier – something about that image takes our minds to thoughts of rustic, bold red wines. If you’re unsure about revamping your range entirely, consider just adding two or three guest wines to promote, this helps to keep the overall wine offering exciting and seasonally relevant.

Country of Origin

Spanish… German… French… American… the possibilities are almost endless. Theme your event around the culture of a particular wine-producing nation. Consider certain countries traditions, for example, a Spanish festival could feature tapas, Spanish wine, and flamenco. The rise of English wines allows for a suitably patriotic celebration. We’ve consistently had to grow the size of our English wine range year on year and sales in the past year at Matthew Clark have increased significantly. All the signs point to the English wine market continuing to go from strength to strength as consumers become increasingly interested in wine from our shores. An English Wine festival is the perfect experience to introduce more people to these beautiful wines.

You can find more information about the wines we stock here. If you want to stock any of the wines mentioned, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your wine range is a success, from free menu design and print services to bespoke training.


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    1- Eventbrite, Brighter Futures Challenging Perceptions of Millennials (September 2017)
    2- CGA, OPM MAT to 30.12.2017
    3- Mintel, Pub visiting UK, May 2018
    4- Soil Association

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