Moscato producers: Know thy consumer!

If the first commandment of successful winemaking is make good wine. Then the second should be: Know thy consumer!

In our last post, we examined a case study about a wine collector in Texas who regularly serves Moscato d’Asti to her friends and family (who happen not to be wine connoisseurs).

I called it an example of an “untapped market.”

“This group of Americans,” I wrote, “LOVES Moscato d’Asti. But it’s never been marketed to. These are not the Society of Wine Educators or the Guild of Sommeliers types. No, these are upper-middle-class Americans who enjoy wine but don’t spend a lot of time thinking about wine.”

This brings me to a point and an issue that apply across the board when it comes to the world of Italian fine wine: Knowing your customer is a key — if not the key — element in marketing and selling your wines.

And that’s where, I believe, Moscato d’Asti producers have fallen short in terms of connecting with the American market. And it’s a “disconnect” that they could easily overcome. There are a number of (metaphorical) barriers and obstacles that have created this (literal) divide.

One is geography. Moscato d’Asti producers need to spend more time in the market connecting with consumers. In my more than 20 years of experience in the Italian wine trade in the U.S., I’ve seen it time and time again. The producers who spend the most time here sell the most wine.

Another is language. And by language, I don’t just mean Italian vs. English. I mean learn to speak your consumers’ “wine” language. Don’t talk down to them. Engage with them. Learn how they like to serve your wine. Try to understand the role that the wine can play in their gastronomic and social lives.

If the first commandment of successful winemaking is make good wine. Then the second should be: Know thy consumer!

I have a lot more to say on this topic and will do so in the next (and probably the following) post.

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Jeremy Parzen
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Italian literature at U.C.L.A. in 1997, Jeremy Parzen moved to New York City where he shifted his focus to food and wine. By 1998, he was the chief wine writer for the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2005, he published his annotated translation of Maestro Martino's 15th century cookery book, The Art of Cooking (University of California Press). In 2007, he launched his blog DoBianchi.com (named after the Venetian expression for two glasses of white wine). Since that time, he has published countless articles on Italian food and wine, including bylines for publications like Decanter and Wine and Spirits, which named him a "Master of Place" in 2017. Known for his humanist perspective onto the world of Italian enogastronomy, he works as wine and restaurant industry consultant from his home office in Houston, where he and his wife Tracie (a native Texan) are raising their two daughters. A former rock musician and songwriter, Jeremy continues to compose and record music with and for his family. He was honored to be named an Italian Association of Wine Merchants ambassador in 2018 for his "profound scholarship in the humanities, his great knowledge of winemaking, and his excellence in communications."

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