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For the love of wine!

30 May 2020

In this weekend's The Australian Magazine I read the feature story from James Halliday - arguably a brand unto himself, and perhaps the most famous wine critic to come out of Australia this century. The name Halliday makes any winemaker stand to attention . A five star Halliday review can make a wine brand. This weekend he announced his intention to sell his prized collection of DRC.

A fascinating story of brand. Domaine De La Romanee-Conti was first assembled in 1869 soon after the French Revolution. It wasn’t until 1959 that the business created a profit and the first small dividend was paid to family shareholders. Today a bottle of DRC will set you back circa 20 grand. So not a quaffer in anyone’s language! Halliday sipped his first glass of La Romanee-Conti in the early 60’s and since then has had a deep affinity with the brand, amassing an enviable collection that will be auctioned this week (The Langton’s auction - May 30 to June 28).

Every vintage of DRC is under strict allocation, the wine is sought across every continent, UK, French, Germany, Switzerland and recently China to name but a few. Distributors take what they get offered with strict rules about after sale.

So as marketers across the world debate the value of brand, pondering how much of their advertising budget they should spend on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram et al, and debate the benefits of creative language, visual identity and Search Engine Optimisation, in the small sleepy wine village of Vosne Romanée, lives one of the most valuable wine brands, DRC and their humble, no fuss life just carries on.

DRC does nothing to promote itself, in fact try and Google their website and a message appears “No information is available for this page.” They simply don’t have a Search Engine Optimisation strategy or social media channels. In fact there isn’t a single sign in the village promoting the winery, just a simple plaque on a wall (which by all accounts is very hard to find).

It’s the result of a ‘less is more’ strategy.  It’s in the mystery of the brand and why jeopardise it: So they say nothing at all. The website has a lot of words but in fact tells you very little.

For decades marketers have debated the value of brand. By its very definition it is the “value of the brand”. The DRC brand is so valuable but it  isn’t a household name like Apple or Google; more importantly it’s very well known amongst discerning wine lovers and collectors. DRC just quietly do what they do, produce a high quality product that is distributed carefully, is unreservedly memorable, very hard to get hold of and unfortunately out of reach of so many wallets.

Happy bidding!

My opinion only. I value yours, so please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.

Nicola Feeney.

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