Chasing the Butterfly

Chamarré (pronounced sha-ma-ray) is a fantastic example of French wine using creative marketing and trying, if a little belatedly, to compete with the cute-label-critter wines of the world. It’s a great look at how one group of vintners is trying to combat the Yellow Tail Effect. The vintners represent every major winemaking area in France. Their grapes are drawn together by Renaud Rosari, winemaker for  Chamarré.

Chamarreyellow_2 Chamarré is targeted for the wine drinker who wants an inexpensive but quality wine – from France. Their logo and labels all effectively use a butterfly. I recently learned that all logos should have a deeper meaning. I suspect the butterfly is a representative of the changing world of French wines and rising up, full of color, to take on the challengers. That’s just a creative guess though. Don’t quote me on it. Chamarré means bursting with color, bursting with flavor, in French.

Pascal Renaudat, Chairman of the company behind the wine, OVS, says the difficulties faced by the wine industry in France are not the fault of the government, powerful retailers or competition from brazen “New World” wine makers in countries such as Australia. “It is too easy to say that it is fault of others.”

Instead, Mr. Renaudat says France has not worked hard enough to discover what modern consumers want from wine and then embrace the latest marketing techniques to meet these expectations and, crucially, the expectations of bigger retailers. “Today France is offering something that does not correspond to demand.”

The company recently set up an office in Miami and has big plans hoping to sell a million cases, or 12 million bottles each year within five years. They also plan to spend over $10 million on advertising and other promotions over the next three years, a sizable amount  for a wine brand.

Simplicity is the watchword in Chamarré’s bottle design and labelling. Taking a leaf out of the New World’s book, many of its wines are labelled by dominant grape type rather than the place in which they are made. The butterfly logo provides visual continuity across the range. Take a look at their web site which is interactive and friendly, with good descriptions of each wine.

I find everything about Chamarré to be inviting and friendly, whether it’s the label, the web site or the tasting notes. I think they’re taking some great, and brave, steps in making French wine available, and less intimidating, to the masses. I could probably write a lot more on the various hooks this company is using and what they’re up against. I think it’s pretty cool.

Adapted from a blog post by Michelle Lentz  www.wine-girl.net

By Mike Carter.