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Q&A: Valerie Pajotin, Director of Anivin De France

Despite a challenging year for Vin De France, the wine category has gone from strength to strength increasing exports across the globe.  Twelve years since its creation, Vin De France has achieved sales of over 315 million bottles worldwide, with 77% sales on export markets, representing around 15% of all French wine exports.

We catch up with Director, Valerie Pajotin, to get an overview of the recent successes for this category.

What challenges did Vin De France have to face in 2021?

VP: It was a difficult year for everyone but we were adamant that the pandemic would not shut down the marketing operations for the category.  Our strategy was to modify core activities like the Best Value Selection tasting, which we held over two weeks rather than one day, in Covid-appropriate conditions.  Instead of our annual stand at Prowein, we joined up with online wine fair Hopwine in April and achieved 2,142 visits from more than 7 countries on our Vin De France Pavilion.  We also used our time to focus development of our online strategy, particularly on the French market.

Can you tell us about your social media strategy?

VP: Our strategy is based on the category’s key DNA of liberty, creativity and freedom.  The B2C and B2B websites went live in June and are designed and developed using contemporary responsive graphics which establish a connection with the public through SEO-optimised content. The content in French and English revolves around education about French grape varieties, which is one of the many attributes of VDF.  As well as a blog, the website incorporates a social wall promoting interactions with internet users and uses a varietal encyclopaedia which helps the consumer navigate the complex world of wine.

What kind of activities did you undertake online this year?

We developed partnerships with nine up and coming artists who have interpreted the world of Vin De France across the year with appropriately cool and accessible visuals.  We also worked with four food and wine influencers: Cyril Montégu, Emmy Alexandre, Karin Shibata and Valentin Bourboulou who are working as ambassadors for Vin De France. We are using content from these partnerships on a dedicated Instagram channel and Facebook as well as across all our digital channels, @vindefrancewines.

What success has the social media campaign achieved?

VP:   The campaign was launched in early Summer across the French market.  We have achieved a very high level of engagement (45% as opposed to the average 3%) and impressions reached over 2 million just three months into the campaign.  Our objective by Christmas is to reach 5,000 subscribers.

A little bird tells me that that Anivin de France has created a ‘first’ in the online world for a French wine marketing board this year.  Can you tell us about this?

VP:  Yes.  This is very exciting.  Another highly significant new online function is the introduction of a Store Locator enabling internet users in France and overseas to locate the nearest store to them retailing VDF. This is a first for a French wine marketing board.

What activities took place in the UK this year?

VP:  Vin De France was present in July at the Taste France fair in London in partnership with Taste of France magazine where we achieved 10.7K UK visits online on the magazine’s website; and we also ran a series of promotional campaigns with Majestic, Laithwaites and Virgin Wines.

And what plans for 2022?

VP:  2022 will be a very busy year. We are currently working on specific marketing campaigns on our key export markets, but we already have a date set for our annual Best Value Tasting in Paris (11 February) and next year we will be showcasing the gold medal winning wines both at Wine Paris (14-16 Feb), as well as on a dedicated stand at Prowein (27-29 Mar).  We hope to see all our international wine trade colleagues at these events next year – we have missed them over the last 18 months!

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