the bottles of Miraval and Fleur de Miraval Champagne

Fleur de Miraval. Here is why Brad Pitt’s label works.

A good habit, when you are trying to build a successful project, but not an original one in its area, is to improve its artistic side and, when possible, to enhance one special part of it, to make the project exclusive.

Brangelina seem to have understood this sort of pragmatic stylistic device, this rule, and they applied it to their wine producing maisons, in Provence and in Champagne regions.

Let’s forget about the produced wines for a moment, and let’s focus on the marketing and communication aspects. We are now taking a look at Miraval, the wine estate that the two actors own in Provence, and which they manage through the medium of the Perrin family.

Miraval’s Website

The narrative of the elements that describes the wine is developed through a very short, but full of value and storytelling, video. The narrative is not traditional or obvious, it does not talk about the same old aspects, such as appellation, grapes, sun exposure, soil and so on. In this video we find an extreme narration, both textual and visual, of the fundamental features.

So, the soil is described by the images of a quartz’s fragmentation, a pink quartz – who cares about the actual geological features of the Provenzal soil – the sun exposure is transformed in a sort of muse, the personification of the light. The narration of the passion for the job, is told by the story of the cellar, which used to be a recording studio. The texts are very few, but the images are numerous, and extremely sophisticated and neat. The website is probably incomplete, but that is exactly why it might be a precursor of what we are about to analyze.

Miraval’s Bottle

The shape of this bottle can be appreciated or not, but for sure it stands out. The exclusive print with the embossed name of the brand on the bottom of the bottle, the transparency to enhance the rosé color – according to the Provenzal tradition -, the minimalistic label with the golden elements to embellish it, and the cap which recalls the gold.

The work of narrative and celebration of the brand is not over yet. Along with the Miraval we also find the Muse de Miraval, a special edition for every vintage, with frosted and textured glass, and of course a super-premium price.

The line ends with the White Miraval and the Studio. The Studio has a different bottle, geometrically speaking, but has the same color.

The Champagne by Brad and Angelina

Now let’s have a look at the Champagne, the private label Fleur de Miraval Rosé, the production of which was handled by Maison Péters. The wine “was born after five years of hard work, research, and tastings, conducted with utmost secrecy”, as we are told by Rodolphe Péters, the head of the wine company in Mesnil-sur-Oger. This statement sounds like it was intentionally fabricated to add more value to the value. Is this a coincidence? Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.

However, thanks to its qualities on the one hand, and thanks to its narrative on the other, the Champagne by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has gained 95 points by Andreas Larsson. We do not want to be malicious, by asking ourselves if the evaluation is real or preferential. Also, we know very well that it is essential for such high-level wines to get awards and recognition.

For the private label Champagne Rosé, the ex-couple of Hollywood has chosen a base composed of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Nero. Thirty months on the lees and a price of 340€.

Champagne Fleur de Miraval’s Bottle

Minimalistic label with all the valuable elements perfectly placed. Few frills and fancies, in harmony with the Champagne labels and a modern inspiration. It almost points out its superiority thanks to a simple approach: this is Champagne, and it is Miraval, it goes without saying, we do not need to add anything. In some ways the label recalls a crossing between Ruinart and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.

The logo is fine and intriguing: pink coated paper, outer foil in golden pink, and raised lettering made with UV gel. The glass is a classic Champagne bottle, with a black cap with the logo of the label. Overall, its simplicity does not undermine the elegance and the individuality of the bottle.

Basically, the wine and Champagne by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do not take it easy.

Leaving the euphemisms aside, nothing is left to chance, every detail is perfectly conceived by the agency that guides and advises them, about marketing, design, communication, and selling. Miraval embodies burdens and honors that come with such famous names. Of course, it is easy to think that the approval could have been granted – at least from a part of the consumers – but let’s not forget that the critics could have been merciless.

Why didn’t this happen? Because, while rendering their private label wine, the two actors have taken care of every little detail and did not make the mistake of imitating something that has already been produced or of mimicking other successful brands.

In conclusion, if you want to create something, do it right or do not do it at all.

PROSECCO ON THE OFF-PREMISES AMERICAN MARKET

While it might be too soon to really understand what the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the wine industry is, we can still have a look at the data that were collected regarding last year.

According to Shanken News Daily, in the United States the alcoholic beverages market has grown 2% during 2020! Sparkling wines in particular have had a very rapid growth, no less than 20,3%, on the off-premises market.

Regarding sparkling wines, the two most popular products on the American market are Champagne and Prosecco. Of course, this is nothing new, for a long time now the imported sparkling wines are bigger than the national ones, and these French and Italian products have always been loved by the Americans. But it is still interesting to look at the volumes that were sold on the off-premises sector last year: +17,8% for Champagne and 25,5% for Prosecco! The best-selling brands are respectively Champagne Veuve Clicquot and Prosecco La Marca.

Also as regards the table wine a good growth has been remarked (11,3%). Except for the wine produced in Oregon, which has grown +16%, all the best-selling table wines are imported. Overall, in 2020 the United States have registered a surge in the imported volumes, especially from New Zealand (+20,6%) and Italy (+17,7%).

For sure the consumption and the sales of alcoholic beverages have faced a lot of changes throughout last year, because of the different habits of the Americans during the pandemic and the lockdown, but also, these numbers are encouraging, and they give hope for 2021.

ROSÉ WINE IN THE AMERICAN MARKET AND THE NEW PROSECCO ROSÉ

Until a few years ago, in the United States, rosé wines were considered too sweet, too fruity, low-range wines. But recently, thanks to the producers’ efforts, the people’s vision about rosé wines has been changing. Tastings and knowledge of the rosé have increased and, finally free of prejudice, it has become a popular wine. An exponential growth of the sales of rosé has occurred, especially during the summer of 2017, and it has not stopped growing since then.

A lot of the rosé wine that is consumed at the moment in the United States has been imported from Europe. Sadly, part of the western wine regions has been devastated by the wildfires during 2020. Millions of acres have been destroyed and, even the vines that have not been lost in the fire, have still been damaged by the smokes.

Starting with the fall season of 2020, a new type of Italian wine has been born: Prosecco Rosé! Thanks to the popularity of both Prosecco Doc and Rosé Wines, the Consortium of Prosecco Doc (Consorzio del Prosecco Doc) has decided to introduce this new sparkling wine. A great success is expected, especially on the American market.

Rosé wines are still trading, in fact a few celebrities are dedicating themselves to promote or even to produce their own Premium-Rosé lines. Some of the biggest names that are involved in the Rosé wine market: Jon Bon Jovi, Angelina Jolie, John Legend, Post Malone.

COVID-19: ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION OUTSIDE OF HOME

For sure the sales in the large-scale distribution and through e-commerce have grown during the 8 weeks of the Italian lockdown, but as expected, the general sales have dropped.

This was caused by the Ho.re.ca. sector’s lockdown, and the consequent fall of consumption of alcohol outside of home.

The negative peak for the wine selling in the Ho.Re.Ca. sector was during the month of April; the lowest point was -90%. Starting from June a big turnaround was registered, especially thanks to the restaurants and clubs that are mainly opened and crowded during the dinner time. The restaurants that are usually frequented during the lunch time have been penalized by the smart working system.

The spirits, during April, have reached a point even lower than the wines, that is -97%. Also, the recovery is being way slower than the wines’ turnaround. This is caused mainly by the clubs being closed, where the 33% of the total spirits selling is.

For the entire 2020, as much as it is difficult to make any predictions, the losses of the alcohol market will probably be quite large. Federvini assumes the following loss: -29% for wines and -34% for spirits.

The overall food & beverage market, still referring to the outside of home consumption, will probably lose about 33%. The perspective, and hope, is that a V-shaped development occurs. This would mean that, after the lowest point in April, the sales would keep on growing constantly, reaching a higher point in December.

THE SPARKLING WINES MARKET IN CANADA

The European market is not the only market that has significantly changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so has the North American market, especially the Canadian one.

Specifically, many changes have occurred in the sparkling wines market and consumption. This market share has been growing quite a lot in Canada, just like in many other countries. But only 18% of sparkling wines drunk in Canada are produced within the state, the remaining 82% is imported from France, Spain, and especially Italy.

Throughout these first months of 2020 the Canadian products, sparkling wines included, have increased their selling if compared to the imported products. This trend exists a little bit everywhere, not only in Canada. This happens because in time of crisis most of the consumers prefer to buy local products, not only because they trust the local producers, but also in order to support the community.

Other than the Canadian sparkling wines, Italian Prosecco was very successful on this market too. While Champagne sales dropped, Prosecco was sold all over the country.

An important difference between Prosecco and Champagne is the way people usually consume these two products. Champagne is mostly served on special occasions, outside of home, in an expensive restaurant, or during celebrations. Prosecco, on the other hand, is perfect for informal occasions, to drink at home and for everyday life. Also, Prosecco is more affordable than Champagne, which is positive especially in time of crisis.

The producers are especially focused on gaining the trust of female millennials, who in Canada are the ones who know the local and imported sparkling wines.

THE ITALIAN MARKET DURING THE LOCKDOWN

During the first 6 months of 2020 a lot of changes have occurred in the wine market. The lockdown has changed everyone’s habits.

According to Nielsen magazine the sales in big distribution, compared to 2019, have grown 9%, while the sales via e-commerce have grown 102% no less. The big distribution, anyway, is still selling way more than the online market, precisely sixteen times more.

But online sales have gained popularity during these months and it will probably grow stronger in the next months. The wine producers will have to keep up with these changes and try to offer a good e-commerce service.

What regards the large-scale distribution, according to Nielsen, between the beginning of March and the beginning of May the increase in volume has been of 9,7% (the average price decreased of 3%).

Which types of wines were mainly bought by the Italians during the lock-down?

Both still wines and sparkling wines’ sales have increased quite a lot (+12,5%), but the red wines were the best-selling ones, compared to 2019 they sold +14,9% more. Other sparkling wines such as Champagne, have decreased their selling, instead. Probably because these types of wines are mostly drunk during special occasions and outside of the house.

All over Europe, throughout the quarantine, a few wineries exploited the situation to their own advantage by using wisely the modern distribution channels. These wineries have professionally managed their e-commerce, involving the customer in some new kind of online experience, something to enjoy while bored at home.

A lot of people, forced to stay home, began to try new things to overcome the boredom. This affected the wine market too.

U.S.A. MARKET: ITALIAN SPARKLING’S GROWTH

Prosecco is a part of the everyday life of North Americans, the Italian sparkling wines conquer the 35% of the market, says Nielsen.

2019 confirms that the sparkling wine market is still growing in the United States. The states where these wines are more successful are California, Illinois, New York, and Florida, the four together are almost 50% of the total Prosecco market. These states, New York above all, are also the most affected by the Covid pandemic (1,56 million of confirmed cases in the US, of which 353.000 are in New York).

But the Italian sparkling wines are not suffering the consequences of this pandemic, actually the records from the off-premise market say quite the contrary: the sales are increasing.

In fact, while a sparkling wine like Champagne, is mainly consumed at the restaurant, or as a luxury product to drink on special occasions, Prosecco is becoming an everyday wine. It’s good, it’s less expensive, it’s for everyone, and during a pandemic when restaurants are closed and everyone is spending a lot of time at home, well Prosecco is just the perfect drink to enjoy!

Prosecco, along with California sparkling wines, is the only sparkling wine that is increasing its sales even if it is losing on the on-premise sales.

The American market is not the only one where Prosecco is increasing its sales, even on the internal Italian market the records are encouraging. 

MADE IN ITALY SUCCESS

Two out of three Italians are willing to pay 20% more to buy Made in Italy products. The Italian flag and the claiming of a 100% Italian product increases the sales.

Osservatorio Immagino of GS1 Italy has conducted a market investigation on labels on which an Italian flag is shown, or any other symbol that recalls the Made in Italy. The presence of the green white and red flag increases the sales by +0,7%, meaning a business value of 7 billion euros.

D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. brands have grown consistently too: compared to 2018, the sales have registered an increase of +3,4%, which corresponds to the 2% of Made in Italy food’s turnover. The D.O.P. labels in the agri-food sector have increased their sales of +1,8%.

Osservatorio Immagino and Coldiretti investigations show that Italian people are willing to pay 20% more if they are assured of the Italian origin of the product they are buying. Federica Bigiogera, marketing manager for Vitavigor, is confident that this habit will not stop with the end of the pandemic, instead, it will continue to grow and will be important for the success of the large-scale distribution business.

The Italian flag printed on the label is as important for the internal market as it is for the export market. It is the calling card of every product that has to be identified as an Italian excellence and show the peculiarity of the Made in Italy. The Italian food consumers community is constantly growing, and it will probably grow further after this pandemic crisis, creating the so-called Glocalism.

A picture from the stage at despar italia

DESPAR ITALIA AWARDED IN AMSTERDAM

Last May in Amsterdam, just like every year, took place the Private Label Manufacturers Association fair, the most important exhibition in the private label world, where the Salute to Excellence Awards were assigned.

With these prizes, PLMA rewards the dedication of the distributors in selecting the wines depending on their qualities, but also on their territories of origin.

In 2019, for the fourth consecutive year, Despar Italia obtained two awards: Best Quality and Best Value in the category Italy red. The private label wine which won the heart of the judges was Langhe Nebbiolo DOC Vignaia Bauducco, a red wine from Piedmont produced with 100% Nebbiolo grapes, from Sommariva Perno territory, located in Cuneo province.

It’s a complex wine, rich and balanced, with scents of blackberry and mulberry. It has 13° alcoholic content, an intense garnet red color with purple shades and it pairs very well with red and white meat.

These prestigious awards are the confirmation of Despar’s attention to quality in the development of the project La Cantina Despar. The company is constantly committed to enhance Doc and Docg wines of Italy, and it guarantees a high-quality production.

Lucio Fochesato, General Manager of Despar Italia, states: “To be awarded for the fourth consecutive year at an international event like PLMA Amsterdam is not only a great honor, but also the acknowledgment of the quality guaranteed by Despar. Today, La Cantina Despar is without a doubt a point of reference for everyone who loves DOC and DOCG products and the Italian excellence and its typical viticulture”. 

Private label manufacturers association flag

PRIVATE LABEL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION

The Private Label Manufacturers association is a non-profit organization, founded back in 1979 to support the private labels, with two venues, in Amsterdam and in New York. The members represented by PLMA are more than 4000 companies from all over the world, from multinational corporations to small family-run companies. The members work with different types of products: food, beverage, snacks, cosmetics, household products, leisure items. To have the opportunity to become members, the companies don’t need to work exclusively with private label products, but they can provide both types of products.

The associated companies have access to exclusive data and market researches, collected by Nielsen Company for PLMA and for the International Private Label Yearbook. In the yearbook we can find market data for more than 7000 different categories of products in more than twenty countries. There are also reports about the market trends in the main European markets, which allow the members to understand the attitude of the consumers.

More useful services offered by PLMA aim to help the company to become more competitive, for example: programs for the personal development for executives and managers (in collaboration with St. Joseph University and Nyenrode Business Universitiet), monthly newsletter for every business, videos, monthly bulletin.

After its foundation in 1979, Private Label Manufacturers Association opened its first exhibition in the United States in year 1980, in Europe in year 1986 and in Asia in year 1994. Every year PLMA organizes two big fairs: in Amsterdam during May (in 2019 it took place on May the 26th and 27th), and in Chicago during November (in 2019 November the 17th, 18th and 19th).

Amsterdam hosts the main fair, with 2.700 exhibitors, and Chicago is a bit smaller fair, which welcomes 1.500 exhibitors.

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