One French co-operative winery is looking beyond the crisis for new opportunities

Wednesday October 07 2020 by Vitisphere

 “When you are the region’s leading player by volume, you have no option but to fight on”, says Eric Lanxade (right). “When you are the region’s leading player by volume, you have no option but to fight on”, says Eric Lanxade (right). - Photo credit : CVG

As sales director for the Caves et Vignobles du Gers (CVG) co-operative group, Éric Lanxade is only too aware of the challenges posed by the current situation, but is not about to throw in the towel.

After a summer on cloud nine, it seems that the French wine industry is suddenly being hit by the harsh realities of this autumn, with progress stalling and the uncertainties of lockdown back once again.

Éric Lanxade: “We're in a difficult situation. We are finishing the harvest and have now realised that all the intuitive ways that producers and trading companies go about their business have to be reinvented. There are no trade fairs and visiting and welcoming customers is very difficult. Whole new ecosystems for these basic instincts have to be reinvented, which is not simple and cannot be done on an individual basis. There is no doubt that we are now in a crisis situation and business is hamstrung, but we must re-engage with wine marketing”.

How is CVG leveraging innovation in practical terms?

For aromatic white and rosé wines, there are opportunities. But it is much more challenging for red appellation wines which dictate a style. You can't impose anything on the consumer, you have to provide an experience. This is decisive as you can't impose anything on the market. Bulk wine gives us the flexibility to support the growth of alternative packaging formats. We need to organise the industry so that it is proactive and modern – with non-GI wines and PGI Côtes de Gascogne – and is also meaningful, with thiol typicity and freshness, High Environmental Value certification, a low carbon footprint, no added sulphites and vegan offerings, for instance.

Innovation involves extending our range so that we can gain a foothold in all the various market segments, including varietal grape juice, non-alcoholic wines, sparkling base wines, wine-based flavoured drinks, wines for distilling, low-alcohol Sauvignon, iconic labels and triple varietals”.

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