Do hotels help wine brands?2nd April, 2012 by Patrick Schmitt
Adding a hotel to a winery is an increasingly attractive tool for raising brand awareness but good winemakers don’t always make good hoteliers.
In the March edition of the drinks business we considered a range of wine hotels and questioned whether they are effective brand extensions, or expensive and hard-to-manage distractions.
Margaret Rand, writing in the magazine, stressed the success of the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, designed by Frank Gehry (and run by Starwood), noting that the striking architecture had helped raise the wine label’s profile.
The hotel, known internally as Project 2000, was actually conceived as a marketing campaign with an investment of €80 million, and Riscal president Alejandro Aznar told db, “The cost of the building amortises in Spain in 50 years.”
On the other hand, Margaret also noted the losses incurred at Romaneira, the luxury hotel constructed within the heart of the Douro’s Quinta da Romaneira, and now run as a separate enterprise to the wine business.
“We realised that the best way to manage the vineyard and hotel was to manage them separately – it was the best recipe for harmony,” explained Christian Seely, who runs the winery and was one of the group of shareholders behind the original project.
Then, Margaret turned her attention to The Yeatman in Oporto, founded by the Fladgate Partnership, owner of Taylor’s and Croft, which Adrian Bridge, managing director of the group insists is not a brand extension for any of his well-known Port brands.
“I’m very keen that consumers don’t see it as a Taylor’s or Croft hotel,” he said.
Rather, the hotel is being used to promote Port as a whole, with sponsored branding opportunities for producers in the region.
He did point out however that when he previously managed The Vintage House in the Douro’s Pinhao, once owned by The Fladgate Partnership, “it quickly became known as the Taylor’s hotel, and people would say, ‘the food’s not up to scratch, it’s good, but we expect more from Taylor’s’ – the brand transfer wasn’t good for either.”
Meanwhile, in the upcoming April edition of the drinks business, we consider a business where the hotel has spawned a wine brand.
In an interview with Victor Redondo Sierra, president of United Wineries, it’s revealed how the group’s Hacienda Zorita has proved inspiration for a brand by the same name, encompassing food, olive oil, wine, and a plan for more hotels along the length of the Duero.
“I want to create the first lifestyle brand from Spain,” states Victor.