Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj and Vera Ivanaj
Chapter 15: The Search for a Sustainable Approach to Traditional French Wine Production in the Face of Competition from Multinational Companies
Marie-Pierre Arzelier INTRODUCTION The aim of this chapter is to find a theoretical basis for strategies developed by wine producers by comparing MNFs (multinational firms) from the New World (‘New World’ countries, such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, the USA, New Zealand and South Africa, are so named because their wine production is more recent than that in Europe) to small French companies belonging to owner–growers. Originally from Mediterranean countries, wine is today produced in many places in the world. Today, wine production in France is in crisis, because new producers from other continents are starting to compete with French wines on the French market. This happens most of all in export markets, the main outlets for French producers (France being a net wine exporter). The producers’ attitude toward and vision of their product are essential factors in understanding the situation. These producers are generally hostile to the possibility of adapting to consumers’ new tastes in wine (consumers generally want sweeter and more wooded flavors), although the technology is available to meet these demands. The particular taste of each wine is, for procedures, part of the ‘French cultural heritage’, to be carefully guarded (like paintings or local landscapes). The gap between what the French will offer and what the world (mainly the Anglo-Saxon world) demands creates an opening for new producers that offer products suited to the new tastes of consumers. It is not so much a difference of structure (small companies versus large MNFs) or products, but rather a...
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