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Forum Market & Wine

On April 25, 2024, the 5th Market Forum & Wine of the German Wine Institute (DWI) took place in cooperation with the Wine Campus Neustadt in the rooms of the Rural Area Service Center (DLR) Rhenish Palatinate . The event, which was fully booked with over 80 participants and moderated by the German wine princess Lea Baßler, was held under the motto "Knowing customers, winning customers, retaining customers". In addition to a series of presentations, there were intensive discussions and two interactive workshop rounds.

First, Eberhard Abele, Head of Market Research at the DWI, addressed the current tense situation on the German wine market. Based on NielsenIQ's wine market analysis, he reported that wine sales in 2023 had fallen by around four percent compared to the previous year. This was mainly due to the fact that the number of households buying wine fell by 4.5%, continuing the trend of declining consumer reach of the last two decades. The result was a drop in sales and turnover for wine, with German wine being disproportionately affected.

Marc Dreßler, Professor of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the Wine Campus Neustadt, then emphasized that it was particularly important to carry out a detailed customer analysis in light of these developments. "The customer is the key to success," he emphasized and explained five steps of strategic customer management. He showed how the company's own offering can be scrutinized, sharpened and enriched by means of experiments based on considerations about target customers. All interactions with customers serve to increase customer knowledge.

A practical example was presented by Pauline Baumberger-Brand from the Baumberger winery, who joined the family winery in 2019 as the sixth generation and, after a relentless analysis of the classic wine line with 32 items and the customer base, realized that the winery was not fit for the future. As a result, she introduced fundamental changes to the portfolio structure, including the development of a natural wine line and drastic price increases for all wines. She attributed the fact that this was possible without any significant loss of customers to the fact that the winery took its customers with it throughout the entire process, disclosing all the facts to them and addressing them personally in a very emotional way. "Communication with customers is essential if changes are to be successful," concluded the winemaker.

In the afternoon, all participants were involved in two workshops on how to win and retain customers. Frederic Karberg from Mack & Schühle AG used three examples of the successful introduction of new spirits brands to provide further inspiration on how this could be transferred to the wine sector. Marc Dressler and Pauline Baumberger-Brand asked all participants to define the brand essence of their own company using a specially developed worksheet and to classify themselves between two extremes, such as "traditional versus innovative", in the areas of operations, product range, target market and communication. This is helpful in order to analyze and answer necessary questions such as "Where do we stand?" and "Where do we want to go?".