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Q&A: Magdalena Pesce

We caught up with Magdalena Pesce, marketing and communications director of Wines of Argentina, to find out more about the industry body’s priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How is business during this tricky time?

Wines of Argentina’s mission as an organisation is to promote Argentine wine across the world. In terms of communication, we are seeing two different scenarios: wineries that are turning to communication more than ever and others where getting from one day to the next has become the number one priority.

In both of these cases, we are doing our best to help and offer guidance to our members, listening to their needs more than ever.

How have you adapted the way you do business during the coronavirus crisis?

Wines of Argentina has been working on online communications for more than a decade, mainly using mass media and digital platforms such as social networks to reach consumers and also to communicate with the trade, press and key opinion leaders (KOL).

This has allowed us to use our resources very effectively, even though we work on a considerably smaller budget than other ‘Wines of’ organisations, consistently increasing our returns on each investment.

So, to be honest, our work has not been significantly affected. We are a young, dynamic group, who are very familiar with teleworking, working from home, using alternative communication platforms, social networks and, especially, plenty of team work.

Now that we are unable to organise face-to-face events, we have restructured our resources to focus on digital communication, meaning that its all hands on deck in the ​​marketing and communications department.

This is a situation that offers opportunities for an enormous amount of creativity and the team is full of ideas.

Has the crisis changed drinking habits / consumption trends in your experience?

Yes, of course, and we will begin to get a better picture of exactly how as the statistical information comes in for analysis.

Is Argentine wine enjoying a boost in off-trade / online sales?

We currently have very little data on that, but what we have seen on some platforms, it seems to indicate exponential growth in sales of Argentine wine across different online and off-trade channels.

However, the real question is will this increase be enough to mitigate the losses generated by the fall in the on-trade? How can WofA be part of the solution in the future? I certainly don’t have the answer yet, but everything points to it being a great challenge.

How do you think the coronavirus crisis will change the world?

Well, obviously this is my personal opinion, but I believe that nothing will be normal again. Covid-19 has been a huge wake-up call for the whole world. What we have to do now is build the infrastructure that allows us to live in a different, more responsible way. We must assume that we are at the beginning of a new era. If we don’t, there will be more pandemics and natural disasters.

The first thing we need to do is create a different, more respectful relationship with our planet. Every community must take responsibility for establishing that relationship, and I believe that involves setting in motion the revolution that will lead to a Global Green New Deal, a digital model of zero emissions.

We need to develop new activities, create new jobs and thus reduce the risk of disasters in the future. The wine industry as a whole must transform itself in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.

In addition, the internet has been responsible for a communication revolution analogous to mass-literacy and the telegraph during the first Industrial Revolution in the 19th century in the United Kingdom, or the telephone, radio and television during the second revolution in the 20th century in the United States.

How should the wine trade adapt in the face of the crisis?

It was evident that the wine sector could no longer keep up with the pace at which things were moving before this crisis. This pandemic will begin to streamline many processes.

I would like us to see this crisis as an ideal opportunity to reinvent ourselves and rethink everything in a more holistic way. We are not islands.

Do you think it will change how people do business, if so how?

Globalisation is over, we must think in terms of glocalisation and create glocal solutions to develop the energy, communications, transport and logistical infrastructures that make sustainable exchange possible.

Since communication is our core business at Wines of Argentina, I would like to expand a little on this point.

Today, more than 4 billion people are connected across the globe and soon all human beings will be communicating through the Internet; the entire planet will be connected. During a period like the current one, technologies allow us to integrate large numbers of people into a new framework of economic relationships.

The internet of knowledge is converging with the internet of energy and the internet of mobility. These three internets will come together and develop into an internet of things that will reconfigure the way activities are managed in the 21st century.

What is the future for the wine trade post Covid-19?

I am very confident that new generations of producers and trade members will accelerate the process of alignment with a different vision for the future of wine, where ongoing innovation and genuine sustainability, rooted in a local mindset, allow us to build a rosy, long-term future for viticulture.

What are your top priorities as a company going forward?

To support, protect and empower the human capital that makes up the fabric of our organisation.

To successfully communicate the benefits of Argentine wine in this new context, using new platforms while never losing sight of our medium and long-term goals.

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