Wine Vision: Going global not always the answer

International expansion is not necessary for wine businesses to develop, according to speakers at Wine Vision 2014.

In a talk that addressed when and how a business should expand internationally, Jaime Araujo, MD of Terravina, said “going global is not the answer for everyone” and warned that there was risk to the "gold rush".

In Wine Vision’s Big Debate, Troy Christensen, CEO of Enotria Wine Sellers, compared international wine distribution to “children playing football” in that “everyone chases the new thing”.

Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor’s Port, also part of the panel discussion, said the market that excited him most was his company’s domestic market. “I am a strong advocate of getting it right at home before exploring the rest of the world,” he said. 

"There's great opportunity in your own domestic market. You need to spend time and energy educating the sommeliers and [staff in] shops," said Bridge.

Bridge added that if a wine company has international ambitions, it is better to concentrate investment into few rather than many markets. As an example, he said a small Port producer could become dominant in a small market such as Andorra, saving money and time that might otherwise be spent across several markets. 

For a global strategy to be effective the panel agreed that customised marketing was necessary.

Terravina‘s Araujo said if a business is looking to expand internationally it should “fish where the fish are but where there aren’t too many fishermen”.

To succeed she recommended  “knowing your business inside and out”, seeking an external advisor to “fill in the blind spots”, “stepping outside of the box” to find solutions, taking inspiration from other industries, products or countries, and always enlisting local expertise.