Research completed by the American Association of Wine Economists

The American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) has produced a working paper that attempts to show the relationship between specific Bordeaux wines and the many individual wines that make up the brand as a whole. The assumption here is that the reputation of the Bordeaux brand influences, and is influenced by, the component appellations.

A survey was conducted in order to determine the reputation of various French wines. The survey interviewed more than 6,000 consumers across seven European countries. Some wine regions, like Bordeaux, were found to have a very high reputation. This great reputation attracts many new consumers, and as a result members can increase their prices due to the perceived high quality of the wines. A great reputation is also thought to provide incentives for wine agents to maximize their efforts, which is great for the entire brand. Additionally, regional reputations were found to encourage cooperation among the component wineries for price fixing, producing high quality products and erecting barriers to competition.

The study discovered that the leaders accrue significant benefits from the Bordeaux brand. This would include Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux Supérieur, Sauternes, and Médoc. On the other hand, Graves, Margaux, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, Entre-deux-Mers, and Côtes de Bourg seemed to derive little benefit from being part of the group. It is posited that this was due to the last group not having a strong enough association with the Bordeaux brand. This was especially true for Entre-deux-Mers and Côtes de Bourg, which were found to have a more modest reputation than some of the other Bordeaux wines. The AAWE suggests that specific marketing efforts be used to strengthen the link between these individual appellations and the Bordeaux brand within the consumer’s mind.

The working report concludes by indicating that further research still needs to be done. Thankfully, the fascinating field of wine reputations, their effect on group brands, and the individual members of the group, is at the forefront of modern research. Further studies promise to add to the ideas presented in this working paper.


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