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Bordeaux aims to sweeten up US market

Bordeaux’s sweet wine producers are heading to the US to host after-work parties in a bid to make the category 'young' and 'fun'.

The Union des Grands Vins Liquoreux de Bordeaux will launch ‘Sweet Hours’ in New York and San Francisco in November. It has already run a series of these after-work parties aimed at 25-35 year-olds in Bordeaux but the US dates mark the first Sweet Hour events outside the region.

Sweet Bordeaux’s Emma Baudry told decanter.com, ‘People think that sweet wines are old fashioned – they are not seen as fun drinks.

‘We are trying to encourage young, successful people to drink our wines at trendy bars. We usually have DJs and dancing,’ she added.

The producers have a long road ahead to reverse declining sales. The average sweet wine drinker is aged over 60, according to research, and sweet Bordeaux sales have been declining steadily over the past 10 years.

Sweet wine exports represented just 1% of all Bordeaux shipments to the US in 2009, equivalent to just 160,000 bottles while domestic sweet wine sales exceeded 3 million bottles.

The events will also see the US launch of Sauternes sold in 10cl test-tube bottles.

Guillaume Forcade, marketing and export manager at Chateau Broustet, said, ‘We need our wines to be seen as trendy and to make them modern. I would love to see hip-hop singers drinking our wines in clubs. However, older producers don’t understand such marketing.’

Sweet Bordeaux represents the 11 sweet wine appellations of the region including Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac and Loupiac.

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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