The United Sates is now the number one wine export market by both volume and value for France’s Côtes du Rhône region, toppling Britain from a perch that it had held for decades.
To ensure that the U.S. will remain No. 1 for the foreseeable future, the professional association Inter Rhône has begun a $3.4 million (3 million euros) three-year marketing campaign.
All through June, Rhône wine flowed at trendy, on-premise locations in Manhattan. Inter Rhône transformed four establishments into Rhône Valley Vineyards Wine Bars, where glasses of Gigondas, Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage among other AOCs could be had.
One of the events already brought more than 750 people—almost half of them from the trade—to a Sunday pop-up party for foodies dubbed Côtes du Rhône Festival in mid-town Manhattan.
VIPs paid $80, and the general admission was $55 to the roof-top, open-air event. The funds have also helped generate fresh 30- and 60-second promotional spots that will soon be available on YouTube. The ads can be also seen in New York City’s Times Square.
The United States Rhône wine market
Inter Rhône Marketing and Communications Director Virginie Charlier emphasized the U.S. market buys almost one out of every five bottles the Rhône exports, and the region exports some 120 million bottles.
The U.S. market generated some $122 million (107 million euros) in sales for the Rhône, according to French Customs Authorities and Inter Rhône estimates.
The ad campaign, aimed at the 25–50 age demographic, is more for the on-premise trade than the off. Charlier stresses the authenticity of the wines as well as the experiences they bring.
The Rhone Valley Vineyards project is off to London later this summer.