How savvy entrepreneurs can bring Veritas to the vino industry.
4 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
Have you always had the desire to get into the wine industry but are you concerned that you will need specialized training and a grape crushing background to be successful?
Brice Baillie, recently named Market Leader for 2020 by Wine Business Monthly, has gained international recognition as CEO and founder of the Obvious Wines brand.
Shortly after arriving in America from France, Baillie found the display of California wines on the shelves confusing. Although the bottles had labels that revealed the name of the vineyard, this information explained little about how the wine would taste, and he saw the potential of bringing a new brand to market with a label that would give consumers the flavors and the Clearly conveyed mouthfeel.
This set Brice in search of the manufacture, packaging, and marketing of the bottles he would aptly refer to as obvious wines.
Wine packaging secrets
The "back labels" of most wines in the United States contain information about the maker and vintage. Baillie went a step further and included information on where he was getting the grapes from, possible food pairing suggestions, facts about the acidity, body, and tannin levels of the wine.
When asked about the factors that contributed to his success, Brice uttered a single word: “Passion”.
“When I started Obvious Wines, I didn't know anything about viticulture or winemaking, but I had a solid marketing foundation and knew how to differentiate my brand from other wine brands on the shelves,” Baillie offered, “Because you shouldn't need a PhD to drink wine. "
Related: Win with wine
The next step on Brice's journey was picking up the phone: “I soon found the best vineyards to source the grapes and the winemakers to make the wine. Then I spent a lot of time calling importers, finding out about the licenses I needed and gaining insight into the three-tier wine distribution system. A friend of mine designed the first wine label. Then I got some of the best restaurants in California just by setting up a face-to-face appointment with the wine director or sommelier. "
Although Baillie freely admits to being a newcomer to the industry early on, Baillie holds an MBA and spent four years with Price Waterhouse in Paris before moving to New York. In the USA he sharpened his marketing know-how through a company position at the cosmetics giant L’Oréal.
Related: Where Award Winning Wines Are Made
Brice's top three suggestions for wine entrepreneurs
Another factor in Baillie's success was an appearance on the "Shark Tank" show on the subject of "Small Business / Big Pitch". When asked how he got this coveted opportunity, the producers found it interesting that a “Frenchman fought against wine snobbery”.
1] Ask for help
"When I came up with my idea, I didn't know a single person in the business. That first cold call led to recommendations and I quickly developed several contacts in the industry."
2] Meet a need
"My first visit to a wine store helped me discover a niche in the market that was not being served. I found that a lot of Americans like me wanted more information and transparency about a wine bottle."
3] Visit the providers
"Developing a personal connection was critical to getting major restaurants and stores to stock my wine."
Baillie's success as a Brand Big Shot underscores that passion, vision and meeting a need in the market can overcome almost any other obstacle.
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