One of the major French players in the global wine trade with worldwide sales of over 11 million bottles per year, Mouton Cadet, is looking to gain market share in the key markets of China, the United States as well as the United Kingdom.
Veronique Hombroekx, the new managing director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s branded wines division, has focussed her attention on ‘people and terroir’ as she puts it, after a period of assessment when she joined the company in January this year.
“I needed time to observe, go around and smell the company and the market as that was pretty new for me,” she said. “We need to to understand the consumer not just in France but also in Japan, China, US and UK. For my aim of adopting a winning strategy for Mouton Cadet, we decided a couple of months ago to refocus our strategy around people and terroir, because behind Mouton Cadet, you have a lot of people: around 300 growers, and all from the Bordeaux appellation only”.
Despite a marked drop in sales in the States over the last two years – from 4 million bottles per annum to 400,000 – Mouton Cadet have managed a global increase between 3-5% over each of the last five years. Underpinning that rise have been higher exports to China, where distribution has been enhanced by Mouton Cadet’s alliance there with Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) last November. “TWE is the best partner you can have in China,” Hombroekx professed.
Hombroekx is very clear on her Chinese ambitions. “The target is to double exports there within five years. Mouton Cadet is a real story to them…as you know in China, you need a story and must have credibility. We have 88 years of history behind the brand, going back to 1930 when Baron Philippe de Rothschild had the idea that people can have a good quality wine at an affordable price.”
Mouton Cadet’s digital alliance with Alibaba in China and the 1919 Store is ‘working incredibly’ according to Hombroekx.
“You order your wine online and within 19 minutes, you can have their delivery from the shop to your house by courier,” she added. “It’s very active in Shanghai, and other big cities. That shows how the route to market in China is very diverse but accessibility and visibility is the key. You must educate all those people – the store manager, the guy working in the supermarket, the guy in charge of e-commerce – and one of our winemakers is going over to do a tasting with them. The wine business there is all about shake hands, make friends and sell wine”.
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