There are several products in China that always tend to succeed on the consumer market. However, in the past year, it seems that Bordeaux wine which is considered to be a high end product, has not been performing as well as producers would have hoped. To combat this, the high end winemaker, Chateau Mouton Rothschild decided to change their marketing methods within China in order to make their Bordeaux one that the Chinese consumer would love.
Instead of marketing this Bordeaux as they would in any market, they took the time to find out what Chinese consumers were most interested in. For their China campaign, Chateau Mouton Rothschild took their wine and found the connection with art, while emphasizing cultural ties within China.
Last year, the total sales of Bordeaux wine was around 685 million throughout the world. This is a drop of 13% from 2013. This drop was mainly due to the poor grape crop resulting in less wine being produced, thus less wine being sold. However, in China lone, there was a 9% decline in volume and 17% decline in terms of the value last year, according to the CIVB association of Bordeaux wine producers.
The head of the CIVB, Bernard Farges, stated:
“The Chinese market, which has had an incredible rise since 2005, had to slow down.”
In addition to this, Thomas Jullien, the CIVB representative in China, stated that almost 300 importers in China of French wines have gone out of business. Thus, it is making those winemakers who are established in China to have a harder time in selling their product. Those professionals associated with the CIVB have stated that 2015 is expected to be a hard year for Bordeaux wine, due to the poor grape production and the fact that the consumer market does not seem to be as interested as they were before.
This is where Chateau Mouton Rothschild is succeeding as other winemakers are failing. The winemaker had a wine auction in Asia at Southeby’s Hong Kong as a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. With this auction they raised HK$31.8 million, and were only estimated to raise HK$20 million. Every auction lot went at the higher end of their price spectrum, making for a great success for the winemaker. This was only the second time in the history of the winemaker in which their wine was put up for auction.
Along with offering the wine auction, they have several lots that were devoted to Chinese culture. For example, they had one auction lot that featured paintings of rams on the label. They also had lots that were featuring the number 8 and their 2000 vintage that had a gold ram painted onto it. It is this connection to the Chinese culture that has made their wine stand out to Chinese consumers as a high end product that is worth purchasing.
Co-owner Philippe Sereys de Rothschild stated:
“The Chinese market is clearly a very important market for us….people in this market now expect the best.”
What is helping the brand to stand out to the Chinese consumer is the fact that they put a piece of artwork onto each year’s bottle. In the past, they have used calligrapher Gu Gan (1996 bottle) and Xu Lei (2008 bottle). The winemaker has stated that they will be choosing more Chinese artists in the near future for their bottles.
The idea that the winemaker is emphasizing is that in order to survive in the Chinese consumer market, you must have a product that the Chinese want. In addition, a brand has to use their product to appeal to a market that has strong ties to their culture, heritage and country.