WOC Summit Reports: Marybeth Bentwood, WOC USA

At last week’s Annual Summit, Director of Wines of Chile USA Marybeth Bentwood presented all the latest in the US market which is still Chile’s biggest market, however she suggested this might not last!

“We are still the world’s biggest wine market, but China is biting at our heels… growth has tapered,” said Marybeth updating the conference with the latest statistics. “The other important news is that we have had two big mergers.”

Wine and spirits conglomerates are becoming more powerful in the US and Marybeth reported that Southern + Glazers has over 30% of the market of wine and spirits sales. This is a challenge as wine brands have to work harder to stand out, which Marybeth believes needs to be achieved through making emotional connections to wine.

On a positive note, Marybeth said that Chile already has a strong wine image in the US. “Chile is most known for wine in my country, if you ask someone in the US what Chile is known for - you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know it has great wine!”

Marybeth focused on the target market being the millenials - and especially female. Although the US has a low per capita consumption of wine in general, millenials drink more. “Millenials want to try something new, and they want authentic storytelling. They want more information and they are highly engaged in wine. They are not interested in points, they listen to recommendations.”

For the upcoming year, Marybeth confirmed that WOC USA will be investing more in social media which has become an essential tool for wine sales and the image of Chilean wine, especially for the millenials. The new campaign that is being launched in September in the US is a consumer campaign, ‘Love Wine, Love Chile’ aimed at creating that emotional connection between the product and consumer.

Marybeth highlighted many of their planned promotions, including a special collaboration with one of the biggest dating websites it the US, match.com, where they plan to co-host speed dating events with a speed tasting of different Chilean wine too. Another new event planned for the US this year is a special all woman wine tasting competition, US Sommelier Chile Challenge. The best female sommeliers in the US will form a judging panel to taste and select wines for special awards, directly targeted at the important target market of female wine consumers.

For more details on all the upcoming activities in the US and a full report on the market, you can see Marybeth’s presentation in the Member's Area. You can also write to Marybeth directly if you are interested in a particular upcoming event.

By Amanda Barnes