Reinvention of the “Verband der traditionellen klassischen Flaschengärer”

Quo vadis German Winzersekt Part 2

The “Verband der traditionellen klassischen Flaschengärer” is an association of winegrowers producing traditional-method sparkling wine from German base wines. Traditional method means that sugar and yeast are added to the base wine and the wine is fermented a second time inside a bottle. The sparkling wine is then called Winzersekt (‘Vintners Sekt’).
I will call them “The Club” in the following post.

At the moment “The Club” is reinventing itself. It’s looking for a new name for itself and for it’s own product. In addition, a common label and a new logo should help to achieve a stronger perception of high quality Sekt in the market.
In Germany sparkling wine is as a matter of fact called Sekt. It can be low cost industrial made Sekt. That is dominating the market. Another possibility is traditional hand-made Winzersekt. “The Club” joined forces with the German Sparkling Wine Association (Verband deutscher Sektkellereien).

Welcome to “The Club”

What has been done by now by the Verband der traditionellen klassischen Flaschengärer? (7 Aug 2019)?

Let’s take a closer look at this point.

Common marking

At the moment there is no clear classification of German sparkling wine for consumers. No profiling of the regions. Only variety. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to join forces with the German Sparkling Wine Association.
But not all Sekt manufacturers are sitting at the same table to create a common classification. For example, the VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter) is missing. VDP recently launched it’s own classification. What will the “The Club” do? 2nd place is the first looser. VDP classification was first and it needs one label for all to creates a better perception in the market for traditionally produced Sekt.

A new name

What is so bad about the term Winzersekt (‘Vintners Sekt’)? Is it not chic and extravagant enough?
“German Winzersekt” was built up as a trademark over the last years. The EU sparkling wine regulation even protects the term since 2009. Promoting a new name will ruin 10 years of work, takes time and costs a lot of money.
If it is really necessary to create a new name, it should in my opinion be something that can be internationally accepted. Choose a name that non-germans can deal with.

A new logo

How many logos do a market need? There are undoubtedly hundreds of logos for food and drinks already. Do you know them and their meaning? I don’t know them to be honest.
It requires a lot of marketing, education and consumer interest to make a logo known.

And don’t forget international customers. It should be a goal to make German Sekt known internationally, so they need to know the logo. That costs money. Costs are piling up.


What is “high quality” Sekt?

Google “high quality” and see how many results there are. I had 6.770.000.000 results.
On top of the result list are definitions of “high quality”. There is at this time not only one definition.

That is why “high quality” Sekt needs key figures that make it possible to measure high-quality. Next step is communication of the definition of “high quality“ Sekt to the consumer in a simple and understandable way. And guess what? This costs time and money.

Proposal from my side: How about making it a requirement for vintners to print the disgorgement date on the bottle label. That is a quality key figure that makes a difference, in my opinion.

The disgorgement date shows when the bottle leaves the cellar to receive its cork. You can find out if a sparkling wine is actually matured or just old and a storekeeper.
Sekt could beat Champagne in that regards. Show that Sekt is fresh and crispy even after 10 years on the lees because it is newly disgorged. In France there is no standard to declare dates. YET. But rumours have it that this could change soon for French Champagne.

Cost payment

Guess who pays the Reinvention of the “Verband der traditionellen klassischen Flaschengärer”?

All measures of the reinvention of the “The Club” will end up in expenses in one way or another. And what do you do with costs? Right. You pass them normally on. And who is at the end of the chain? Right! The consumer!

I can think about the following scenarios
First: same quality, but higher price. I wonder where the pain barrier for consumers are for a bottle of Winzersekt? Already now vintners are complaining that consumers are not willing to pay for their sparkling wines.

Second: same price, same quality. I think that’s not going to happen. It takes time to implement the marketing plan and even more time to have effects out of it. The winemakers have to live of something in the meantime.

Third: same price, but worse quality. That cannot be a solution either. This does not fit the vision of “The Club”. They want to make high-quality hand-made Sekt great again and differentiate it from low cost industrially produced Sekt.

Fourth: poor quality at a higher price. i don’t think i have to say more to that one.

Final thoughts

Make German ‘Vintners Sekt’ great again. Give it a better image. Great idea in my opinion.
The strategy leaves to be wished for. I see good starting points. But the overall picture strategy is missing. Or communication is very poor. On the homepage of “the Club” I searched in vain for detailed information or news 11 Sep 2019.

‘Vintners Sekt’ does not have to hide. It’s in fact ahead of champagne. Proof are many blind tastings. Germany has all the technology to make great bubbles.
But there is only one change to move traditionally made Sekt in the spotlight. Also internationally. Sit all together and find one solution together.

The French did it with Champagne. I see no reason why the Germans cannot do it with Sekt?

Just do it. It’s now or never.

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Update 13. Nov 2019

The new name is „Verband traditioneller Sektmacher“. That means translated something like “Association of traditional sparkling wine producers”.