French wine’s PR push

If you live in the Washington, New York
or Chicago areas, or in south Florida or California, you’ve probably
heard radio ads extolling French wines. These are part of the first
major U.S. promotional campaign by the French wine industry and Sopexa,
the French trade association for promoting food and wine products. So
what’s the big deal? Well, isn’t it sort of a given that French
wines are good? Why the need to promote them?
“A lot of people recognize that French wines are great, but on the
other hand there’s an idea out there that French wines are all
expensive and there are no value wines to compete with Australia and
California,†says Sheri Sauter, the Durham, North
Carolina-based Master of Wine and perky spokesperson for the campaign.
The promotional blitz is meant “to connect with consumers and remind
them that French wines are good and let them know that the French are
also aware of the American consumer’s need for great everyday wines
for the dinner table.â€
In recent years, the French have lost market share in the United States
and Britain to Australian and American wines. The French are also still
stinging from the anti-French sentiment of two years ago in the buildup
to the Iraq war, when French wines were ceremoniously poured into sewers
and toilets by American “patriots.â€
Sauter chose 45 wines for the campaign, emphasizing value pricing, a
geographical mix, and modern labeling and packaging (including
varietally labeled wines and bottles with screw caps) to show that
France doesn’t just make expensive wines for old fogies. You can find
out more about the campaign and the wines, as well as how to enter
Sopexa’s contest for a free trip to France, at http://www.wines-france.us .

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