Wines of Chile hosts seminar on the United States market and packaging trends

Before the recent Wines of Chile seminar was even finished, the room was humming with excited chatter, and the participants clearly couldn’t wait to begin discussing new ideas with their colleagues.

On Thursday August 23, Chilean wine industry professionals gathered in Santiago to attend a presentation about the United States wine consumer market and new trends in packaging.

The first half of the seminar was delivered by consulting agency Wine Intelligence. Research Director Juan Park and Project Manager Natasha Rastegar spoke about where Chile is currently positioned in the United States market, along with where Chile should aim and which goals to target.

As domestic wines represent a large portion of the US trade, importers face significant competition from other global suppliers, especially in the super-premium market, as Chile still has a strong reputation for value. According to Park, Chile must establish and communicate a clear regional image through engaging stories and cultural branding in order to overcome New World competition.

Rasteger continued with a detailed analysis of Chilean wine drinkers in United States, who fall into categories of current drinkers, lapsed drinkers, potential drinkers, and rejecters, discussing their main characteristics, their relationship with Chile, and how to engage them. The largest audience – and key for Chile – is the group of potentials, primarily younger Millennials who don’t know much about Chile yet.

Rastegar calls the potentials an “interesting group” of price-conscious and social drinkers, who are adventurous and responsive to interesting packaging and country associations that will help them choose their wine. And once they are drawn to try impressive Chilean wines, they will remember and repeat the experience.

“Make Chile easy to understand,” advised Rastegar.

Stephan Finke, of CLL Americas, followed with an overview of the US wine market – the largest market in the world, focusing on innovative packaging.

The recent economic recession has presented challenges for imported wines, as consumer confidence has waned. Now, however, wine consumption is on the rise, with significant growth in luxury brands ($15+). With imports expected to soar by 2025, the United States is a prime opportunity for Chile. Noting that Chilean exporters must find ways to “please the palate of Americans,” such as planting sweeter grapes like Moscato, and maintaining brand innovation.

Comparing a number of super-premium US favorites, Finke showed that the largest financial growth could be seen in brands that had invested in new labels. With only 3-4 seconds to draw consumers’ eyes to packages, according to Finke, aesthetic labeling choices and variety are essential.

David Schuemann, of CF Napa, concluded the seminar by discussing the concept of “perception vs reality” in wine marketing. With extremely crowded wine aisles in United States supermarkets, consumers are overwhelmed with choices. Wineries must establish a “brand essence” and attract attention with packaging design and advertising, according to Schuemann.

Schuemann also confirmed Rastegar’s recommendation to brand Chile through unique stories that the audience can relate to. “Storytelling takes consumers on an emotional journey,” he said. Consistency is ultimately important, though, and wine lore and marketing slogans must be “clear, simple, and authentic.”

Describing various marketing success stories in United States, Schuemann showed that clever and innovative packaging and advertising strategies – combined with quality wine – can result in tremendous success for Chilean exporters.

By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Wines of Chile

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