It feels like there are suddenly a ton of wine merchants that specialize in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Obviously I’m pretty happy about that, so I’ve made a list of these wine vendors who are focused on the south of France.
I’ve previously mentioned a few of these Languedoc Roussillon wine merchants on Love That Languedoc. But new ones seem to emerge all the time, and there are also a couple I overlooked in the first rundown.
Interestingly, almost all of them blog.
Thoughts on specialization
I think the Languedoc Roussillon is ready for this sort of specialization. At least the suppliers are. We have sooo many high end, small production wines that need this sort of merchant with a strong regional focus to find the best wines at the greatest value. And the wine-buying public is learning more and more about our region every day. So eventually, these sites might have the same opportunities as sites that specialize in smaller regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy.
I do wonder if the businesses need to distinguish themselves a little bit more. Being regional specialists might not be a unique selling proposition, as evidenced by the emergence of sooo many competitors in such a short time. Maybe this is why so many of them blog. To give them a personality that separates them from the competition. Or to get better search engine referencing. But at the point where they all blog, is that really setting them apart? Or is it just keeping up with the Jones’s? And is it effective at all with sorely out of date blogs like Terroir Languedoc’s (last updated in 2009!! Gemma!! Take that off your front page navigation ;D )
Perhaps Midi Vin is doing it right since they’re not JUST blogging. They’re actively participating in the online and offline wine community. I see Sylvain and his colleagues at wine fairs and conferences and producers all the time (not to mention they’re sponsoring VinoCamp Languedoc).
I guess a lot of these merchants expect their portfolio to set them apart too. They can try to be the person who unearths the best quality and hardest to find wines at the lowest prices. But this is tough. The only way to judge who is best is for an extremely devoted customer to shop at all six places. And the chances are that each of these merchants has a couple coups de coeur tucked into their portfolios.
And a last observation, why don’t any of them carry my wine? I don’t want to pat myself too much on the back, but it seems like it might be a decent idea to contact all the active Languedoc Roussillon winemaker blogs.
But anyway, I’m pleased at their combined enthusiasm. I hope it works wonderfully for all of them. And I encourage these regional pioneers to keep on working the local angle. And innovate new ways to bring our wines to light.
Influence on other businesses
I think it’s safe to say that these businesses are influencing other merchants to adopt more regional focus in their portfolios. Even our own UK importer, Naked Wines, might be influenced by the practices of these more specialized merchants. When the site launched, they had hardly any Languedoc. Now, they now carry a whole range of Languedoc wines and their customer base is becoming more and more familiar with the area. Which in turn generates interest in finding new wines from the area and drinking even more Languedoc. Good stuff!