Rhône specialist launches three premium tiers into the UK in brand strategy revamp

Rhône specialist Cellier des Dauphins has launched new premium tiers into the UK market, as part of a new, more consumer-centric brand strategy.

The company, which is the largest and most dominant wine producer in the Rhône Valley, has launched the  Reserve Côtes du Rhône range, Village, a range of wines featuring the vignerons who grew the wine’s grape on the front of the label, and a Les Cru range to the line up.

The move, which was first unveiled at Prowein in March, is the culmination of several years of research and development by the company, it said.

Marketing & communications director James Fuselier said the impetus for the move was less about premiusation for its own sake, but in order to appeal to and cater for a growing number of consumer occasions.

“We’re not led by the fact of premiumisation but we want to fit with different types of customer experience. As you see in the UK and France, consumers tend to drink less alcohol but be more selective, and have a fuller experience, so they are looking for this type of experience. This happen to be at a more premium price with more work going into the vines and the winery, so it does end up being more expensive. But it was more about the consumer occasion, and wines that fit our terroir that was the driver of the recipe and range building.”

He added that the size of the company and being a cooperative made up of winegrowers gave it a greater opportunity to segment the wine rang better in terms of product profile, type of consumer occasion.

Union des VIgnerons des Côtes du Rhône winemaker Laurent Paré

Union des VIgnerons des Côtes du Rhône winemaker Laurent Paré

“Being the grower, we have the unique ability to influence what is going on at the vines, to drive the harvest, the recipes, and of course the design,” he explained. .

As a result, the new range has been created to fulfil different types of consumer needs that correspond to different types of occasion, he said.

The core Les Dauphins range primarily targets 34-year-old consumers, he explained, targeting easy drinking, but the Reserve, which will retail at around £10, would take this into a more food-friendly arena.

“Les Dauphins works well with food but conventionally, the recipe is made for an aperitif type of occassion, whereas with Reserve is more on a versatile recipe that works for both aperitif as well as with food – a more exclusive, more formal occasion for consumers who want to go further with wine discover,” he said.

Winemaker Laurent Paré said the revamp had provided the company with more of a chance to present the diversity of its terroirs.

The Reserve, for example focussed more on grape selection, using specific vineyards and grapes to achieve the flavour profile they wanted. “For Les Dauphins its more about international, easy drinking wine, with Reserve its more fruit and wine pairing with food. So there is more Syrah in the reserve, which makes a more full  deeper and complex wines.”

“On top of that we have Village –which includes the names of  specific village and terroir, then on top of that we have Les Cru, which is more quality wine, smaller yield with bigger concentration, more quality and more ageing on oak.”

The new lauches are focussing on the UK market, along with the US and China, targeting both the grocery and indie channel.

The Reserve has won its first listing in the UK with Exel WInes.

Cellier des Dauphins is the flagship brand of Union des VIgnerons des Côtes du Rhône, which claims to be the largest producer of Côtes du Rhône wine producing around 50 million bottles a year. It has over 12,500 hectares under vine and is made up of around 2,300 winegrowing families.

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