Brands are formed in the minds of consumers and wines are brands to them. They also represent guarantees of quality, signs of trustworthiness, projections of how we live and who we are. Stories are powerful in shaping brand impressions. They enable the final customer to connect the product experience with values, hopes and aspirations.
As a matter of fact, storytelling has always been an integral part of wine. But the nature of storytelling in wine – and in other commodities such as mobile phone – is changing because of the growing role of the consumer. In the old paradigm, the story belonged to the winery, and it was delivered as a monologue. The producer tells the story and the consumer has to buy the wine. That story would be about what was important to the winery: the terroir, the latitude of the hills, the clone number of the grapes, the pH balance in the soils, the type of oak in the barrels, the flavors consumers should be tasting, etc.
In the new paradigm, storytelling belongs to both the winery and the consumer. It’s a shared story, a collection of stories, a conversation. The consumer says “give me some insights and let me to run a unique experience and I would appreciate and buy your wine.” Their stories may have nothing to do with terroir or the oak or vineyard management because those things may not mean much to certain consumers, even if you, the winery, think they should mean something. The one-size-fits-all approach no longer fits, and the winery is no longer in complete control of the message.
All these information are very important – terroir, the care of the grapes or differences in production methods help the visitor to enter in the winery story but it is the way in which the owner/wine-maker engage the final customer that creates value.