Catalunya of wine at the time of digitalization : Entrepreneurs, the world is waiting for you !


While Spanish wine industry has faced up to the worst domestic deterioration of its sales (with France and Italy), Cervantes’ country showed able to pick itself up. Yet, the challenge was huge : due to the transition from a regular wine consumption to an occasional and festive one, between 2001 and 2015, the domestic consumption of wine dropped from 16 to 10 million hectoliters, and the systematic distillation of low-quality wine felt by 70% (from 10 to 3 million hectoliters per year).

The major success in this adaptation to the radically new market conditions was to compensate the dramatic drop of the domestic consumption by an awesome increase of the export volume: from 6 to 22 million hectoliters per year during the same period !

But now, Spanish entrepreneurs of the wine sector must take up new challenges. The waves of exterior sales, which made Spain the first exporting wine nation in volume, were based upon the loose wine. This lack of domestic integration in the sector has concrete consequences upon the Spanish stakeholders, since that makes them at the mercy of French bottlers, the latter enjoying good levels of production to buy wine at very low price (0,35€/l). In the same time, the domestic consumption could continue to fall if the wine-industry doesn’t manage speaking to the Spanish youth. More globally, it is essential to ensure the premiumization of the wine offer, a demand brought by the changes of consumption frequency.

Both concerns are intrinsically related to the perceived value of Spanish wine, and so to one specific element of the value chain: the communication. It’s precisely what tells us the specialist of Spanish wine industry Rodolfo Gastro Galiano in his book La comunicación del vino : the Spanish wines gather many excellent elements and “los bodegueros”, by communicating more intensively and better, have all the power to get tomorrow a very strong recognition in Spain as to the international.

This issue comes up in a context of fast digitalization scrambling the well-established patterns of the vineyards’ images and offering to Spanish bodegueros an incredible opportunity to reaffirm their very own identity. And Spanish vineyards can already enjoy a substantial advantage ! In a customer environment marked by increasing health and ecological concerns, Spaniards can insist in their communication upon their little use of phytosanitary products, allowed by the local climate (European leader in organic wine, and lower use of chemicals than its competitor countries in conventional production). But don’t forget that the digital shift can lead well further than communication : the swing from BtoB to BtoC allowed by e-commerce, still very little invested in the sector, can increase radically the margins of the stakeholders.

Yet, this transition is not as simple as it can appear at first sight. On the contrary, it involves a complex job of high-wire walker, having to juggle skillfully between many elements, like this new image-maker dimension and the traditional codes and aesthetics of wine, or the static (storytelling) and regularly added contain (personalized relation) (…) But it’s worth the money ! While customers traditionally made their choices of wines according to the appellations, the possibility of new connection between them and bodegueros through digital interfaces changes in a decisive manner the weight of the brand : the race to differentiation and creation of brand preference is started.

Bodegueros, the world is waiting for you !