Introduction to Business Case Essays

2732 Words Mar 5th, 2015 11 Pages
EXPERIENCE

HBR.ORG

Case Study
The owner of the prestigious Château de Vallois must decide whether to launch an affordable wine. by Daniela Beyersdorfer and Vincent Dessain

The Experts

Corinne Mentzelopoulos is the owner and CEO of Château Margaux, a firstgrowth wine estate in the Bordeaux region of France.

Preserve The Luxury Or Extend The Brand?
G
aspard de Sauveterre shivered as he stepped out of a side entrance to his château. While the late September days were still warm, he could feel autumn approaching. The 75-year-old owner of Château de Vallois, a famous wine-producing estate in the Bordeaux region of France, felt a familiar thrill. This was the season he and his team had worked toward the whole year; any day now
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She wanted de Vallois to enter the “affordable luxury” market, selling

Philippe Sereys de Rothschild is the Vice Chairman of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, a family firm that manages the firstgrowth Château Mouton Rothschild, other estates, and branded wines.

HBR’s fictionalized case studies present dilemmas faced by leaders in real companies and offer solutions from experts. This one is based on the HBS Case Study “Marketing Château Margaux” (case no. 507-033), by John Deighton, Vincent Dessain, Leyland Pitt, Daniela Beyersdorfer, and Anders Sjoman. It is available at hbr.org.

ILLUSTRATION: LARA TOMLIN

January–February 2011 Harvard Business Review 173

EXPERIENCE

directly to customers, as some of the other top traditional Bordeaux estates had done. When Gaspard mentioned the encounter to François de Sauveterre—his son, Claire’s uncle, and the château’s CEO—later that evening, François’ first reaction was to raise a skeptical eyebrow. But he agreed to give his niece a hearing; after all, she had inherited her mother’s 25% share of the estate, the same stake he held. Gaspard had the remaining 50%, and although François had taken over day-today operations five years ago, the elder de Sauveterre would certainly weigh in on any change in strategy, particularly one as dramatic as Claire’s.

“Vines are like

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