Aim higher!

Aim higher!

2024. 03. 10.

In recent days, I had the opportunity to present one of Hungary's best single-vineyard selected Kékfrankos wines at an event. The feedback from the participants was favorable, so far there is nothing particularly exciting in the story. However, one of the tasters’ opinions, perhaps not in the most positive context wanted to state this, was one the most important criticism I have encountered recently. What was said: "The wine is very good, agreeing with the previously praised words, but perhaps it's a bit too Austrian." That was the moment when I felt that even though there's not the time to lean back, the direction is right. And why? Let's step back in time for a moment.

1985 was the year in Austria that fundamentally shook (destroyed) the neighboring country's wine industry. I won't go into the reasons and why's here, just as I won't delve into the strategic analysis of the recovery (1). What's worth noting is that as a result of the rebuilding, Austria not only climbed back onto the world wine map within 10 years but also wrote a serious success story with the repositioning of the industry. One element of this reconstruction was that the previously unseen grüner veltliner grape variety gained serious international reputation and popularity, becoming a product with its own wine styles, practically turning 'gv' into the country's symbol.

For some time, Austria has been seriously working on replicating this feat on the red grape side, this time putting Kékfrankos in the spotlight. The results of these efforts so far include many internationally recognized Austrian producers, sought-after appellations, and wines that are offered at reputable, expensive places worldwide, including restaurants, wine bars, etc. (2)

But what about the demand side? In addition to the unfavorable elements of declining wine consumption and other aspects of consumption structure, there is also the 'good timing' factor. Kékfrankos, as a grape variety, possesses everything that the current taste world expects from wine and has all the qualities on which market professionals can build sales strategies (2).

So, how does my little joy mentioned at the beginning fit into this? Our neighbor has proven results and experience in the field of strategic reorientation and product introduction. We have about three times the area of the grape variety in question, which creates the opportunity for a more substantial market presence. As a first step, it would be sufficient to achieve similar quality and awareness results and not invent something that is partly already invented and partly is now being formed. Kayakers call it riding the downstream.And since there are still many question marks about the variety and its future (3), the approach and styles should be reacted and refined depending on market developments and. The future of a grape variety is taking shape, perhaps we can contribute something to it. (numbers in the text indicate possible questions)

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(Source of images: the internet)