CIC Wines… And their place in our fabric
April 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
Let me start by saying that it is not my desire to tell anyone that their favourite wine is not good. However the fact is that CIC (Cellared in Canada) wines have enjoyed a level of success primarily because they were called Canadian.
Retailing is all about crafting a visual as well as a cerebral experience for the customer. The cerebral is about price and perceived practical application. The other is about creating legitimacy for a brand or product type.
I recall being a rep for E&J Gallo and visiting the main winery and distribution hub in Modesto. I had the opinion that the success of Gallo over the decades was about vertical integration which allowed for the best possible grapes to go into products that are offered at a better price than the competition. I tested my theory by asking one of the winemakers for Gallo branded wines, what the secret was? His answer; “just don’t make it offensive.”
North Americans invest heavily in consistency even in the face of health risks, critical acclaim or panning, and merchandising. Consider for a moment the power of Coca Cola, Tim Hortons, McDonalds, and Starbucks. All offer consistency no matter where you are. The quality level can be counted on and each one of these organizations have more revenues than the Canadian Wine Industry. So it should not be a surprise that Copper Moon, Naked Grape et al have a huge market share in the backyard of the BC Wine Industry. However making a wine that never changes for under $10 is not the whole picture.
Walk into 95% of retail outlets in the BC and you are greeted by a wall of CIC wines. That amount of linear feet and billboard merchandising legitimizes the proposition. One has to ask themselves why has CIC been shelved in its own category? It’s proposition is no different from other commodity wines from around the world so why should it not have to fight for their place in the sun like every other offering?
Answer is because no one has shown the business reason to make the change.
As a retailer we arrange our stores by what the offering is saying to customer. The wines that ask the customer to embrace the natural diversity of wine are shelved as such, those that are commodities are shelved as such. The result is that 1) our average ring has increased, 2) our profitability from wine has increased, 3) we can act with full force on our strength of telling the story of products with soul.
If you want to curtail or shrink the share of CIC then you must get retailers to make CIC compete with like products and give them the tools to showcase the beauty, profit and true value in diversity.