European wineries consider direct-to-consumer

US wineries are adept at selling direct to consumer, but it’s a sales channel that has rarely appealed to Europeans. James Lawrence finds evidence that’s changing.

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash
Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Blockbuster French rosé brand Mirabeau has decided to go it alone. On 27 May, two months into the Covid-19 pandemic, sales director Udo Koschinski launched a direct sales channel in the German market — Mirabeau’s inaugural attempt to reach consumers without the support of a retailer or distributor.  

“We realised that the restaurant sector was unlikely to fully recover any time soon,” says Koschinski. “We knew we had to act quickly to recuperate turnover.” He said that not only did the direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales channel offer the best solution, but he also feels it’s the future. “We can thrive without a distributor in this market.” He adds that if the venture is successful, the model may be rolled out to other nations. “It’s quite likely.”

Yet as recently as January 2020, the DTC model was considered a controversial topic in many European wine regions, particularly Bordeaux. The pandemic has forced people to reconsider. 

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