© Tobias Toft/Flickr
BY JOÃO PEDRO MONTES
CEO, WINE WITH SPIRIT
The wine market is steeped in centuries of tradition – both in terms of how it is sold, and how it is drunk.
Wine consumption, especially in mature wine markets, has generally been associated with food. However in recent years, we’ve seen an increase in occasional consumption linked to festivities, social gatherings and special occasions.
Nowadays, consumers opt for wine as a drink of pleasure, capable of enhancing the sensorial aspects of a good lunch or dining event with family or friends (70% of regular and 60% of occasional consumers), rather than as an everyday drink. The idea of wine as a drink of sociability seems to be more and more integrated into social occasions – including those not involving food. We now drink wine with colleagues after work, on a girls’ night out, or while watching a movie at home with our partner (51% of regular drinkers and 80% of occasional drinkers).
But, when it comes to selling and buying wine, are the wine producers speaking the same language as the consumers? How often have you had the urge to drink a French oak-aged wine, or a wine with a certain tannin content? On the other hand, how often is your desire for a glass of wine linked to festivities, social gatherings and special occasions?
It seems to us that producers and consumers have been talking two very distinct dialects; producers speak of technical characteristics, using specific jargon like tannins, terroirs or ageing methods. Consumers however speak of moments, emotions and events.
That is what inspired the creation of Wine With Spirit. We’re an award-winning Portuguese wine producer and tech company, and we intend to change the wine industry.
Are producers speaking the same language as consumers?
I was raised in a family connected to the vineyards and producing wine, which helped me and my team recognise the business opportunity in this traditional market where producers insist on not speaking the same language as their consumers.
Wine with Spirits produces a range of wines called Bastardo for consumers who have been wronged.
Our first challenge was to bring the Wine with Spirit ethos to wine consumers around the world. We decided that research was the best way to start this.
We invested heavily in research, especially in ethnography, to understand consumers’ needs and interests when it comes to wine buying. When we felt we understood this, then we launched our first wines on to the market.
This extensive study validated the following:
It was clear a new market approach was needed; we looked at moments in life, with typical Portuguese irreverence, and created the perfect liquid for each one.
At Wine With Spirit we do things backwards! Our wines are created from the market to the vineyard, rather than the other way around. First we identified the consumer’s needs in terms of consumption moments/emotions (romantic dinner, meeting with friends, celebration, and so on) and then we created strong and easily identifiable brands. Only after that did our winemaker, Pedro Sereno, study the information in order to create the right wine for the identified moment or emotion. That’s why we say that ‘we don’t produce wines, we produce bottled emotions’.
After innovatively pairing the production and drinking of wine, it was the time to do the same for the selling.
We chose to do this through our proprietary digital distribution platform, Lyfetaste. This is an alternative to the traditional distribution channels, which we felt didn’t allow us to control our brand or promote it to the consumers we wanted to reach. Lyfetaste relies upon an intelligent algorithm, bringing the power of big data to wine production and retailing. It allows consumers to search for wines according to their consumption moments and emotions. This makes it easy for them to choose the right wine for each occasion. This selection process, available on every smartphone or other digital device, keeps the purchasing process simple, fun and memorable.
It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey – and it has been this ethos of working from the market to the vineyard, and not the other way round, that has set us apart from other producers.
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