Coronavirus conversations: Doña Paula’s Martín Kaiser

Doña Paula’s director of viticulture and winemaking, Martín Kaiser, shares his views on the current and long-term implications for the Argentine winery and wider trade due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Martín Kaiser was recently named Argentina’s ‘Viticulturist of the Year’ by Tim Atkin MW

How is business during this difficult time?

The national market in Argentina is going through tough times but recovering after 2 months of complete inactivity in distribution. We expect to recover in the second semester part of the volume that we lost in sales up to this point.

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

We have changed some marketing strategies, doing more with social media advertising and cutting costs in traditional campaigns. We are also now taking advantage of all the communication tools at our disposal to connect directly with our importers and distributors, conducting both training and tasting sessions.

Have you noticed the crisis has changed consumption trends/consumer drinking habits?

We have noticed a quick switch to the online market. First as a natural reaction due to the quarantine, but secondly because many people are no longer afraid of buying wine online.

Are you enjoying a boost in off-trade/ online sales?

In some cases yes we have seen a boost in sales, especially in some markets like the UK and USA where historically we are very strong in the on-premise channel, but with lock-down our customers are looking out Doña Paula in the off-trade.

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

Going forward, I think society will be more accommodating when required to adapt to natural circumstances, be they floods, droughts or pandemics. I also see a possible mood shift from away from consumer goods purchases towards more money being spent on life-experiences and creating memories.

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

I think the route to market may have to be addressed. We as a company are currently looking at different ways of communicating our premium wines to consumers in three core markets.

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

I believe some of the changes that started over the last decade or so will accelerate but only time will tell if this is to be the case.  

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

I think some things will change dramatically. In the first instance, travel – both winemakers and the commercial teams made frequent trips overseas which were both time consuming and at a significant cost to the company. With the advent of new initiatives like the virtual wine fair in China in we are participating in July which will take us out of work for only one day rather than the 8 days of time and money in the traditional pre-covid lead up and post event travel, surely future travel will be less frequent and must be better justified.

What are your top priorities as a company going forward?

Our first priority is always to maintain the health and safety of our team. Even before Covid-19 this was an integral part of our company policies, the sustainability of our business can only be achieved by securing our most important asset: our people.

Do you have any new wines in the pipeline?

Yes! We are about to launch a new line of varietal wines from one of the best quality regions in Argentina. Watch this space….

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