There appear to be three types of Sherry consumer: the older generation who have always drunk it, but are now dying off; the occasional drinkers who will drink it but not go out of their way to find it, considering it unfashionable and not really competitive with other drinks; and the experts on whom Sherry depends for its future growth.
A clear understanding of consumers is vital for any product, and wine is no exception. Who drinks Sherry nowadays? What are the consumers like who drink the approximately 50 million bottles of Sherry sold annually? To simplify a little, we could classify Sherry drinkers into three basic categories:
The traditionals: regular consumers in the traditional markets. In Spain these would mainly be men who drink Fino or Manzanilla, while in Britain, Holland etc. they would mainly be women who drink Cream or Medium; people over 55, brand snobs who do not realise Sherry is a wine.
|The Sherry snob |
The occasionals: people of any age or gender who drink Sherry sporadically, usually at functions such as ferias or celebrations where it is the wine on offer. They don’t know much about it and have no brand preferences, drinking Sherry of any type according to the local style, and they do it in any way such as aperitif, with tapas, in cocktails…
The experts: wine lovers who drink Sherry as part of a range of wines which they drink more or less frequently. They drink Sherry as they would any other wine: preferably with food and in a relatively informal environment. They drink most styles of Sherry, are of a younger profile - usually over thirty - and of either gender.
Given the situation and assuming that there are no foreseeable changes in the Sherry business or the consumer, the logical evolution of each category is very different.
There is no doubt that the traditional consumer is slowly disappearing and this is the main reason for the falling sales. Developing sales to the occasional consumers, the ones who come across Sherry without looking for it, depend on marketing skills to keep them interested and the creation of opportunities for them to come across Sherry, not an easy thing to do in the face of voracious competition from vast numbers of other drinks.
So the best opportunity for growth is with the experts, the wine drinkers. Luckily numbers of these consumers are growing, everywhere. These are people with some knowledge or at least curiosity and interest in wine in its broadest sense. It is very important therefore, that the bodegas and the Sherry trade in general do their best to introduce Sherry to these consumers, along with its historic vineyards, grape varieties and ageing systems. Everything in fact that makes Sherry special, but within their scope of interest: the world of wine.
If Jerez plays its cards right, these will be the consumers to return us to the path of growth. They will assure the future of the industry and our heritage, so important to us all.
(From Diario de Jerez 6.12.14)
|A patio at the Alacazar, Jerez|
The dates for the IX edition of Vinoble, the sweet and fortified wine fair which takes place every two years at the Alcázar in Jerez, have been announced. They are the 29th 30th and 31st May 2016. The dates have been carefully chosen to avoid clashing with other international wine fairs.
After the 2012 fair was cancelled due to lack of funds, the 2014 was a great success and for the first time, gastronomic activities were included. These will be expanded in 2016 along with revised marketing and improved access. The closing of the fair in the middle of the day will remain, the idea being to give visitors time to have a good lunch and a look around the city.