Today, during Wines of Argentina’s general meeting of shareholders, Alberto Arizu (Jr) was unanimously elected President of the organization, and Susana Balbo its Vice-president.
Wines of Argentina is made up of more than 200 member wineries representing 95% of Argentinian exports. This year’s budget amounts to 22 million pesos, of which ARS 5 million derive from membership fees, ARS 6 million from wineries for organizational activities which are financed separately, ARS 10.6 million from the COVIAR (Argentinian Wine Corporation), and the rest from contributions by various organizations.
“This money,” Arizu explained, “is destined to the promotion of the country brand. In the course of 2010, 240 activities will be carried out, which means that Argentina and its wines will be presented somewhere almost every other day.”
“Out of the total budget, 33% is allocated to promotion in the United States, one of the countries with greatest growth potential. Following in order of importance and percentage allotted to promotion are Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the Netherlands,” WofA’s new president specified.
After the meeting, Arizu spoke with WineSur and highlighted that one of WofA’s challenges is to raise Argentina’s market share. “When we began in 1995, Argentina only had 1.2% of the market share and today we have 3.5%. My aim is for Argentina to reach 4.2%. That is why we wish to place emphasis on the differential values of our wines, and take advantage of the popularity we currently enjoy in order to position ourselves more effectively.
- You remarked it is necessary to refine our aim with regard to communication. What do you mean by that?
The wine market is undergoing dynamic, dramatic changes, and it’s important to properly interpret what is happening. Argentina’s position has also changed: it has gained a better reputation and higher prestige. With this momentum, we are forced to regard things differently; communication should be conducted on more specific terms.
Moreover, the expectations of the member wineries have also shifted. Ten years ago, Wines of Argentina’s activities were focused on seeking importers, while at present the priority of wineries and of the organization is to reach the end consumer. This is because we’ve gradually accomplished different goals, and the Argentina brand has reached higher levels of maturity. WofA will focus its strategy on the end consumer. For this reason we cannot have a common strategy for all markets. It is necessary to determine the demands of each market and the needs of the wineries.
- A substantial part of the budget is destined to the United States. What are this year’s goals regarding communication in that market?
The US is an extremely complex market; each state operates individually. When it comes to organizing the different activities, we bear in mind whether they are intended for the East Coast, the West Coast or the central United States. Argentina’s position is different in each of the regions. The US is a market in which there is still plenty to be done, where not only will activities be focused on the end consumer at the point of sale, but also on the search for new opportunities in new states, since North America is much more than New York and Florida.
- In relation to Latin America, what are the objectives and destination markets for 2010?
Argentina is much more consolidated in Latin America than the US, and that’s where our communication strategy needs to take the greatest shift. POS activities are key. In the past, a generic tasting held in a hotel had good results. Today, such an activity would prove insufficient for the communication of a brand such as “Argentina” in Brazil, Peru and Mexico. Then, in Latin America we should concentrate mainly on conducting tastings at POS’s.
- Does Argentina have an important growth potential?
Argentina has an enormous potential in Latin America. It has already grown and reached a prominent position. The most important advantage we have in these countries is that Argentine wines can be presented in a very friendly way, as there are no major communication obstacles, such as the language barrier. Besides, distances are not so large and there is constant flow of people among the different countries, especially of tourists.
Within Latin America, WofA is going to focus its strategy on Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, and, gradually, we will be targeting at other countries, such as Uruguay and Paraguay.
- Is Wines of Argentina planning to diversify promotion beyond Malbec and tango?
It is not by chance, but rather as the result of a number of studies, that Argentina selected tango as the central theme for its promotional campaigns. We also understood the importance of having, among the strategic central themes, two varieties like Malbec and Torrontés. This helped us convey quite a uniform message from Argentina, and I think we were not mistaken, since we managed to get people around the world to identify Argentina with Malbec. We are the envy of many countries, since we have an emblematic variety that is very much liked by international consumers. However, from now on it is time to start working on Argentina’s diversity of climate, soil, varieties and, particularly, wine regions. It is no longer enough to talk about provinces such as Mendoza, Salta, San Juan or the provinces of Patagonia. We should start to be more specific, because each region has its particularities.
Translation: Inglés del Vino.