AOP Provence rosé producer, Maison Saint Aix, has reflected on the challenges of the pandemic, noting how success has come from its continued connection to independent retail.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the global wine industry has faced a number of challenges, largely relating to supply chain delays and on-premise lockdowns which took away a large stream of revenue. And while Maison Saint Aix felt these challenges head on, there were also some bright spots, including one of the finest AIX vintages in its history, a new logo creation, and a successful sales strategy that resulted in all 2019-produced stock being sold.
Jaap Sonnemans, Global Sales Director, said this sales strategy has always been aligned with independent retail and this has been key to the strategy’s long term success in the face of adversity.
“Even with our friends in the on-premise suffering with lockdowns, we never looked to place AIX globally into major retail chains,” Sonnemans said.
“Working with Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist, our distributor, and directly with on- and off-premise customers is key in keeping AIX at the top of the premium, but affordable Provence rosé category.”
Another key part of the strategy is with magnum sized bottles, designed to hero the shared drinking occasion amongst friends.
Maison Saint Aix Owner and Winemaker, Eric Kurver, said: “I think that the wine world is growing, and young people are starting to get more interested in wine. Our strategy right from the start has always been to focus on ‘sharing’. This chimes with restaurants which are also increasingly focusing on the concept of sharing dishes. The old adage that bigger bottles taste better, should really be that they taste better when shared.
“Sharing a bottle of AIX should be about effortless conviviality, but we know the party has truly begun when a bigger bottle is cracked opened!”
On top of the independent retail focus, this part of the strategy has also proved successful for AIX, selling out of magnums in several key markets each year. For 2020, even more magnum sized bottles (125,000) have been produced to cater to that sharing social occasion, and sales have also increased across three litre, six litre and 15 litre Nebuchadnezzar sized bottles.
“If we manage to sell 125,000 magnums, that will be an increase of 25 per cent compared to 2019, but we do experience an increase every year. This is because people from ‘outside the wine world’ are starting to get to know and opt for larger format bottles, especially magnums. But the goal is to sell a little bit more, despite this challenging year as people are keen to celebrate life again,” said Kurver.