Out to paint the town red Inter Rhône 6 rue des Trois Faucons 84024 Avignon France Tel: 0033 4 90 27 24 00 Fax: 0033 4 90 27 24 13 UK representative Sopexa (UK) Kingsbourne House 229-231 High Holborn London WC1V 7DE Tel: 020 7312 3636 Fax: 020 7312 3600 KEY CONTACTS Export marketing manager, Inter Rhône Thierry Mellenotte Group account manager, Sopexa Julie Ballentine key brands · AC Côtes du Rhône · AC Côtes du Rhône Villages · AC Côtes du Rhône Crus If the UK wine market has seen year on year growth of around 5%, then Côtes du Rhône wines can be justifiably proud of their own vital statistics. Within the multiple grocer sector, AC Côtes du Rhône is up 18% on last year with Côtes du Rhône Crus wines showing a rise of 11% (ACNielsen, March/April 2000). These figures, combined with an increased investment in marketing for the UK in 2000/2001, promise an even stronger year ahead for Côtes du Rhône wines. Voyage of discovery If, as industry commentators insist, the UK palate is becoming more adventurous, then it's a trend that bodes well for AC wines which offer the consumer complexity and greater depth of flavour. Côtes du Rhône Villages wines in particular focus on the notion of terroir and local identity, while adventure and discovery play an integral part in the Côtes du Rhône experience. At this year's London International Wine Trade Fair, for instance, wine traders were invited to visit the 2001: A Rhône Odyssey stand to discover wines available for retail in 2001; next year, Inter Rhône (the regional marketing organisation) runs the five-day Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône from 10-15 March 2001 in the heart of the Rhône Valley where there will be more than 20 trade tastings, 600 winemakers and over 5,000 wines available. French resistance Notwithstanding the growth in New World brands, French wines are still considered by many to be the benchmark for certain wine styles and the fact that more than one in four bottles of wine sold in the UK off-trade is French proves that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Oddbins wine buyer Grant Ramage believes their strength lies in the fact that they are "well known to consumers, still offering value for money at entry level pricing, have had recent good vintages, and produce an appealing style of wine showing ripe, sweet fruit and soft tannins". Côtes du Rhône offers a comprehensive range of wines, starting with generic Côtes du Rhône, stepping up the complexity with a small price premium to Côtes du Rhône Villages, and finally the Crus as the pinnacle of winemaking from the region. The diversity of the range enables consumers to trade up as their tastes develop or as the occasion demands ­ their choice no doubt influenced by one of the most successful wine industry campaigns, Think Red. Think Côtes du Rhône'. From branded taxi cabs and hot-air balloons, to light projections on Big Ben and in late-night Soho, a series of high profile events and activities designed around the impactful red theme have done much to raise awareness of the region's wines and position them as exciting, innovative and contemporary. There are now plans to take the campaign further with more than double last year's marketing spend for Côtes du Rhône during 2000/2001. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}