Things are changing in the world of French food and wine opinion-forming.
As the website Vitisphere reveals, France’s leading annual collection of recommendations for wine buyers, the Guide Hachette is changing to fit the modern world. As Stéphane Rosa, the guide’s director, acknowledges “There is no denying the rise in the use of the web by wine buyers. This is not new, wine lovers have always favoured advice from friends, and digital is an extension of that."
So, today, he continues, “everyone continues to use the Michelin Guide while [also] going on TripAdvisor”.
In reaction to these trends, the 2022 edition of the Guide Hachette, will be the first to have a ‘godmother’ in the shape of the influencer] Margot Ducancel who gives her opinion on each region and lists her own favourite wines. Revealingly, Rosa describes wanting to “energise ourselves with a new readership” and to “build a bridge between two audiences, [Ducancel’s] younger, female audience and ours [which is] older and male.”
One has, Rosa says, to take account of trends. Which is why he is considering the future possibility of including Vins de France alongside the IGPs and AOPS which are currently the only categories allowed, launching guides in other countries, and including foreign wines in the French edition.
Sixty thousand copies have been printed of the 2022 Guide. A dozen years ago, in 2019, the figure was 150,000 and, even in the depths of the economic crisis, the then director Jean-François Moruzzi was confident of selling 100,000-120,000 of them. But then again, of course, nowadays, for €14.99 people can consult the guide online, without needing to buy a book. But they still may appreciate the input of a "younger, female" influencer.