In 1848 Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte became President of the Republic and from 1852 Emperor of the French. Known as Napoleon III, he was the grandson of the famous Napoleon I and used wine to market in an interesting way, which set a precedent. Let's see how.
Napoleon III's wine marketing.
Who was Napoleon III?
Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III) was the son of Napoleon I's brother, and imposed his autocratic government from 1848. One of his goals was to strengthen France's position as a major industrial power in the world.
The role of wine for Napoleon III
For him, wine became a fundamental tool to achieve this result, because it drove the economy and identity of France and which he decided to use as a precise marketing tool.
Napoleon III's wine marketing gimmick
On 5 April 1855 Napoleon III asked to compile the official ranking of the great wine-producing Châteaux of Bordeaux : an important marketing tool in view of the Universal Exhibition in Paris scheduled for May of that same year. This is the Classification des Grands Crus Classés .
The official classification of the best Bordeaux wines of 1855, made in record time, concerns the wines of the Médoc , Sauternes and a Péssac Leognan company, divided into 5 categories according to an order linked to merit. The ranking today is still almost unchanged.
What can we learn from Napoleon III's marketing operation?
All the world is a country : the Paris Universal Exhibition needed an important image maneuver for the event and it was found at the last moment.
The power of wine : due to its nature traditionally linked to quality, wine is an important tool for the promotion of an entire nation.
Classifications as synonymous with quality : since then Bordeaux has become even more of a region synonymous with quality and prestige throughout the world.
Napoleon III after the Battle of Sedan (1870) was exiled to London, from 1871, and it seems that he was forced to become a wine merchant to support himself.