‘A Shared Instinct’ is the focal point for the new strapline and identity of Languedoc wines, marking an impressive revolution for France’s leading wine region. Why? What changes does it imply? What advantages does it bring? We share the history of a region that is (finally) shedding classic wine conventions and stepping into real life.
- The story of Languedoc appellations’ quality revolution
- ‘Languedoc Wines, A Shared Instinct’, the new strapline and brand identity
- Execution of the communications campaign
The story of Languedoc appellations’ quality revolution
Up until the 1980s, much of Languedoc was still France’s production powerhouse. Though a winning formula, it came at the expense of quality. But a clutch of diehard winegrowers intuitively fought to secure recognition for their vineyards as AOCs, guaranteeing both quality and provenance. This long drawn-out struggle, which began in the 1950s – and was fuelled primarily by economist and politician Jules Milhau – would be won in 1982 by Faugères and Saint-Chinian, then in 1985 by Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux du Languedoc, now called AOC Languedoc (not to be mistaken for Languedoc AOCs). As an aside, other Languedoc AOCs preceded them, like the long-standing Fitou appellation, born in 1948.
In the 1990s, Languedoc attracted novice winegrowers from a wide range of backgrounds. They bought vineyards in its stellar locations at affordable prices and crafted the wines they enjoyed. This was the start of what would become the ‘Parker’ era for Languedoc. Concurrently with this, next-generation sons – and increasingly daughters – of winegrowers took over family wineries. They had received training and discovered other wine regions, prompting them to take their parents’ techniques forward. They left co-operative wineries and established independent wineries, took an interest in the environment and switched to organic, before other green endorsements like High Environmental Value (HVE) entered the scene towards the end of the 2000s. As Miren de Lorgeril, chair of the Languedoc Wine Marketing Board (CIVL)* points out, “Languedoc’s drive for quality is unquestionable – in a single generation, fundamental efforts by winegrowers and negociants in their vineyards, on their wines and their labelling, turned the region into the El Dorado of French wines. This success must make us more demanding and ambitious, and make us want to tell our story even more”. As she stresses, “Languedoc appellations represent 10% of the Languedoc wine region, equivalent to around 30,000 hectares, or the size of Burgundy”.
‘Languedoc Wines, A Shared Instinct’, the new strapline and brand identity
“This is a return to our roots. We haven’t invented anything new. A lot has already been said”, explains Marion Danjou-Oury, the CIVL’s marketing director. In actual fact, it is the culmination of a lengthy consultation period where producers and consumers provided feedback through questionnaires and/or focus groups. “The challenge was to successfully express all this”, she told the press at a preview of the new strategy on June 8, 2021 at Château de l’Engarran.
The avowed ambition of Languedoc’s winegrowers, both men and women, is to embody France’s new wine scene, one which follows its instincts and shakes up classic wine conventions.
Their mission is to share the intense and instinctive pleasure of wine with consumers. And that is an absolute revolution in the world of wine, replete with complex conventions.
Languedoc’s new identity revolves around four distinctive themes:
- Its Energy or energies: derived from the earth, sun, wind and people
- Its Nature, at the root of everything and consistently authentic
- Its Character: persistently strong, authentic and spontaneous
- Its Freedom: because Languedoc’s wine industry constantly challenges itself, shows entrepreneurship, opens up new possibilities and shakes up conventions.
Execution of the communications campaign
If you haven’t heard about it yet, there’s a good reason for that. The newly-minted communications campaign launched in France in June 2021 and will be rolled out in January 2022 in export markets. Its protagonists are AOC Languedoc winegrowers in action, featured in a series of snapshots illustrating the five pivotal values underpinning the promise of Languedoc wines – spontaneity, strength of character, creative energy, commitment and the ability to excel, and a sense of pleasure. All of these define the reality of the wines.
The overarching concept is relayed through social media, a website (coming soon), a brand film and another great idea where wine merchants must instinctively answer two questions like, “What Languedoc wine would you suggest to Coluche on a fishing boat?” Find the answer on social media #InstinctPartagé. Or here: The Pompadour label by the Embres et Castelmaure winery. As William Shakespeare would have said – “Instinct is a great matter”.
*The Languedoc Wine Marketing Board (CIVL) combines 20 Languedoc AOPs. The appellations group together over 1,600 businesses (independent wineries, negociants and co-operative wineries). In 2020, Languedoc AOPs produced nearly 150 million bottles worth €550 million. The wines are mostly red (60%) though rosés are showing strong growth (20%) and their share of production is now commensurate with that of whites (20%). Over 30% of the wines are exported, primarily to the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Belgium, Germany and Canada.