The impact of Covid-19 on the way the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors does business continues to be far reaching with a host of new initiatives and ways of working. Like this new approach by Wines of Germany to help support independent wine retailers, whilst also providing a new platform to promote and distribute its wines in the UK when retail buyers are less likely to be travelling and sourcing new wines for themselves. Nicky Forrest, head of Wines of Germany in the UK, explains how its new Retailer Partnership is going to work.
A partnership fund of £65k is available for independent merchants and online retailers to apply for and use to invest in promoting German wines in their businesses.
What is the main ambition of this new Retailer Partnership fund and how is it going to work?
The aim of the fund is to support smaller and medium sized retailers and at the same time to get new German wines to a wider consumer audience. The fund has been introduced in response to the difficult landscape the wine industry now faces and offers smaller and medium-sized UK wine merchants the opportunity to apply for grants in order to increase promotion of their German wine listings. Applications must be made via the application form on the Wines of Germany website and submitted by September 28.
Who is eligible to apply and what criteria will they have to follow to stand a chance of getting a grant?
Retailers will need to have:
- A physical or online wine shop based in the United Kingdom.
- Annual retail sales of £500k-£10m.
- Agree to list at least three different German producers and eight German wines (two of them non-Riesling) for the period of the promotion. If a retailer already has eight German wines on their list then they don’t need to list more for the promotional period, unless of course they only have Riesling.
What levels of grants do you expect to hand out on average?
We’re offering retailers the chance to apply for funds of up to a maximum of £10k to promote their German wines. We have £65k in the fund and grants given to successful applicants will be allocated based on the information provided in the application, so the more detailed applicants can be with their promotional ideas, the better.
How have you put together the £65k amount for this initiative?
The funds came from our existing budget that we reallocated in order to bring the Retailer Partnership Fund to life.
What will the chosen retailers have to do in order to receive the grant?
Ultimately the fund is to help German producers sell more wine, to help retailers sell more German wine and to help more consumers discover German wine. Funds will be allocated to retailers who provide details of well thought-out campaigns. We would like to see ideas for impactful in-store and online promotions as well as creative and engaging social media campaigns and events – virtual or physical.
It doesn’t matter if retailers want to do one or all of these example promotional activities, they know their customers best and know what will work for them.
In return, Wines of Germany will include one German wine per winning retailer in its media outreach plus arrange partnerships with a social media influencers to promote the winning campaigns directly to consumers and Wines of Germany UK will support campaigns via our own channels.
When will the grants and promotions run from?
Successful retailers will be notified in October 2020 and all promotions must be completed by April 30 2021.
Why are you doing this with independent retailers versus other parts of the drinks industry?
Wines of Germany works with a number of retailers of all sizes from Waitrose, Majestic, Laithwaite’s and Virgin to much smaller independent retailers through our ’31 Days of German Riesling’ campaign that we run every year for independents and restaurants. What we wanted to do with this campaign was to work with the medium sized retailers who miss out on the bigger promotions and might not always get involved in the ‘31 Days of German Riesling’ campaign.
How has Covid-19 affected your usual activities planned for Wine of Germany this year?
As a generic body we have adapted our campaigns in order to appropriately respond to the needs of the market. This year we have replaced some larger-scale events and music festivals with digital and social campaigns and have postposed some campaigns to 2021.
It’s important to us to support retailers who continue to list and promote German wine so we are thrilled to be able to launch this new and timely Retail Partnership Fund in 2020.
What are the best-selling German styles/ varieties?
When thinking of German wine, Riesling is often the first grape that springs to mind but we’ve also seen a lot of different varieties that continue to do well like Pinot Noir (Germany is the world’s third largest producer) and Pinot Blanc (Germany is the world’s largest producer) and we are starting to see the arrival of German Sauvignon Blanc which is doing well in the independent sector.