Not quite grasping the market…

Apparently some French people in charge of Champagne believe that somehow or other cheap champagne is ruining the image of the product…


Supermarket cut-price deals are “a parasite on the image of champagne”, according to a trade association representing producers.
Last Christmas, Asda and Tesco sold exclusive label champagne at £10 a bottle – less than half price. The supermarkets also slashed the cost of branded labels, with 71 per cent of the total volume sold at reduced prices.
But the drastic discounts being offered have been criticised by the producers’ professional body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC). Its communications director Thibaut le Mailloux told Off Licence News (OLN) magazine: “It’s just a marketing ploy. It puts in the head of the consumer that champagne can be made at that price.
“It’s at the expense of champagne. It’s a parasite on the image of champagne. Retailers are shooting themselves in the foot by downgrading the category and making consumers expect a price where producers and retailers can’t make a margin that’s sustainable.
“The message is not to make everything as cheap as possible, but to give balanced offers to consumers.”

Do you get the feeling that they don’t wish their product to be accessible to the peasants?

Now I don’t know where the supermarkets got their product from, but I’d be willing to bet that they didn’t make a loss out of the deal. They might have used it as a loss leader (unlikely it’s not something everyone would buy) but in the end M. Thibaut le Mailloux doesn’t quite appear to grasp the ethos of the supermarkets whose task is to sell as much as possible and make as much as possible and by selling champagne at £10 a bottle they appear to have found a market for it rather than have it gather dust on the shelves at £20 a bottle. I hardly need mention that you aren’t going to get many wine connoisseurs in a supermarket going over the shelves for cheap plonk either.

Champagne is what it is, a celebratory drink on the whole and its image such as it is, is hardly likely to be damaged by selling it cheap. After all you can buy many just as worthy competitors as cheap which can taste just as good from fizzy sweet to fizzy vinegar depending on the persons taste.

Once again we have some who want the world what they want it to be (even if they price their products out of the market) rather than what it now is.


3 comments for “Not quite grasping the market…

  1. Andrew S. Mooney
    March 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    “Do you get the feeling that they don’t wish their product to be accessible to the peasants?”

    Yes. The peasants don’t represent much of return. You’ll sell a lot of product but the profit per bottle is next to nothing. The last few years have probably not been that good in terms of vintages and so that is why they are being flogged off cheap to make space in the tunnels where they age the stuff.

    You cannot sell a bottle of Champagne for £10 and make a profit off it. Champagne, if it is genuine is a limited product due to the fact that it is a region and there is only so much suitable land for grapes in that region. Then you’ve got the fact that it is still hand prepared to an extent, and it not capable of being created in vats, like you can do Italian Prosecco.

    “Champagne is what it is, a celebratory drink on the whole and its image such as it is, is hardly likely to be damaged by selling it cheap.”

    It is actually very easy to damage a brand by selling a premium product that is priced too low. What demographic do you first think of when I say to you “Burberry”? How about LaCoste, Lyle and Scott, or in car manufacturing, Rover?

    In the case of the latter, consider how the bog standard Land Rover became the luxury Range Rover, and got spun out into a company in it’s own right. Also, the new Mini, that Rover developed when BMW owned it, was the only brand that they kept when Rover got flogged. Even Rover dropped the name in the end, becoming MG Rover and now just MG, having been bought by the Chinese. Poison.

  2. Ed P
    March 25, 2014 at 11:54 am

    It is an expensive drink to make – the second fermentation in the bottle to make the fizz, special strong glass bottles, the losses in corking, etc. Small producers are still turning their bottles by hand (to separate the 2nd fermentation yeasts): this is very labour-intensive. Larger concerns are automated, but have high overheads. So the higher price is justified.

  3. March 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Oh come along now. Who drinks Champagne any more? Most goes directly from the vintner to the F1 Grand Prix teams to spray over the crowds. You should have seen the spraying in Melbourne the other week. They had an entire special plane into Tullamarine carrying the load of bottles and casks. 45 Gallon drums of the stuff.

    OK, I jest. Some goes to footballers to spray on the crowds. And then there are the tennis crowds to soak. And the golfing mob. Crikey, at St Andrews it goes into the green sprinklers.

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