ROYAL TASTE REBRANDED FOR THE NEW GENERATION
When it comes to Hungarian wine, one would automatically think of Tokaji, the lusciously sweet dessert wine drank after a copious meal! However, 70% of Tokaji wine production is dry! As such, ‘the king of wines and the wine of kings’ is struggling to remain relevant in a society more focused on a healthy lifestyle with less calorie and sugar intake. This new consumer behavior has translated into a dramatic decrease of sweet Tokaji wine exports worldwide. It is only in the last few years that Hungarian wineries adjusted to market demands by starting to produce quality dry white wine in a region acclaimed for sweet wine production. Winemakers István Szepsy and Zoltan Demeter working for Kiralyudvar back then produced the first commercial Tokaji dry wine in 2000 by serendipity, because of low yields of botrytis grapes that year and consequently high amounts of base wine leftovers, which ended up being bottled as Furmint-based dry white wine. This marked the beginning of Tokaj region’s dry white wine production amongst a large range of Tokaji wine styles, such as Aszú, Esszencia and Szamorodni. But are these quality Tokaji dry white wines reaching enough international wine markets? The answer is NO. The Tokaj region protected by the UNESCO World Heritage, recognized as the oldest appellation in the world, has yet to form a wine association/consortium to strengthen the authenticity and heritage of this region’s wines and hence, improve their image on a global scale.
As such, an important global marketing strategy should include promotion of the brand by changing the identity of the region, to not only be renown for sweet wine production but also for quality dry wine bottlings. Moreover, translating the Tokaji brand across numerous languages to improve consumer self-confidence when ordering/ buying a bottle stays at the core of a well-designed marketing campaign. Additionally, to expand their business reach within the sweet style of Tokaji wines, wineries should use a promotion strategy focused on targeting a younger audience, and delivering them the product in an innovative way, maybe in the form of cocktails or test tubes. Hence, rebranding the old-fashioned image of Tokaji could help restore a bygone of an era of sweet wine consumption and attract dry white wine connoisseurs from other foreign markets.