It is a generational change. On paul E. Knight follows cornelius louder. GWF has a new managing director. And it is full of energy. That he will need it, too, is clear to him. Rough changes are in the offing.
Since the 1. July this year, the 35-year-old is at the head of the largest wine cooperative in france. He sent off paul ritter, who scored on the 2. July his 65. Could celebrate its 50th birthday. Under his leadership, GWF developed new brands and improved the so-called value-added processes. Cornelius lauter is well aware of the difficulty of the future task, and speaks of a rough challenge. You can see the pleasure he takes in designing.
"No one is waiting for us", says the man who grew up in retzbach and studied oenology and wine technology in geisenheim. His primary goal is to supply the market with the products it demands. This requires not only close observation of the actual state, but also a certain foresight. An assessment of the future that is as accurate as possible.
"Our clientele is changing. So we also have to change." Cornelius lauter chief executive officer
"We will be streamlining our product range," lauter announces. Most consumers no longer want complicated and detailed information on the label, but rather as clear a picture as possible at a glance. GWF’s products will therefore also have to adapt visually. "Our clientele is changing," says lauter. "So we also have to change."
The market determines the rules. In the future, the GWF therefore wants to focus more on brands such as "young franks," which "disentangle complexity," as GWF chairman andreas oehm puts it. Complicated product descriptions are no longer in demand, especially in food retailing, which accounts for around 75 percent of sales.
GWF also plans to streamline its wine shops and wine press stations. There are currently eleven stores spread throughout winegrowing franconia. The regional distribution is to be maintained, but the number of wine shops is to be reduced to five locations: iphofen, stetten, reicholzheim, volkach and repperndorf. In addition, the two wine bistros in volkach and wurzburg will continue to operate. "We have a lot of guests in weinfranken," says andreas oehm. "But the times when people came and automatically filled up their trunks are over."Other distribution channels therefore need to be explored. GWF wants to expand its online trade, for example.
Oehm and lauter want to continue to operate the export business "homoopathically" and not put too much effort into it. Within germany, however, they continue to keep their eyes open for possible new markets. "Every area is different," says cornelius lauter. "We therefore have to approach each region in a way that is appropriate to the target group and find the right approach."
In the munich region, this has long been successful, and it has already proven to be a profitable market. Lauter can also imagine a larger presence in north rhine-westphalia and/or upper franconia. "And we want to continue to place the ‘young frank’n’ in food retailers throughout germany," he announces.
Changes in orientation are often accompanied by changes in personnel. GWF currently has 135 employees, several of whom are about to retire. In all probability, there will be no layoffs. Andreas oehm speaks more of shifts. New jobs will be created; in terms of content, employees must be and remain flexible. Spatially too.
The GWF plans a rough new building. Below the main building, on the road to buchbrunn, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a modern winepress station will take place next year. GWF is investing a double-digit million euro sum in this construction project. Little by little, the winepresses in the surrounding areas will be closed, and by 2025 this process should be completed. The grapes are then all delivered to repperndorf. "This is not a problem logistically," says andreas oehm. Part of the 2020 harvest is already to be delivered to the new winepress hall. The process is to be completed by 2025.
GWF currently has around 1250 active winemakers. "That is our potential," says cornelius lauter. On average, each winemaker farms one hectare of vineyards. Targeted training is to prepare members for the challenges of the future. Taking back the foliage is just one of many examples of how the GWF vintners can prepare for the hot and dry summers that will probably determine the work in the vineyards in the years to come.
"Of course we also want to create the best possible growing conditions for silvaner," says lauter. Silvaner should remain the most important grape variety. For bacchus and riesling, on the other hand, he sees only limited additional potential in franconia due to climate change. A generational change is on the horizon here as well.