Even if Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible team had been available I’m not sure even they could have solved the challenge of “How To Future Proof the South African Wine Industry” in the hour debate that was held online earlier this month as part of Wines of South Africa’s Insider Sessions designed to throw the spotlight on different challenges and opportunities facing its industry. Here Richard Siddle, who helped chair the session, summaries the key solutions of the panel of leading South African winemakers and producers.
While human intervention can correct all manner of issues in a vineyard, the one that is increasingly having the greatest impact is climate change. That cannot be combatted… or can it? Wine expert Michelle Williams spoke to growers in Australia, Spain, Austria, and the USA to learn about their efforts to do just that, through vineyard biodiversity. From grape variety selection, cover crop practices, biodynamic farming and encouraging Mycorrhizal fungi, winemakers are finding that when you are faced with a complex problem – using complexity does help.
The percentage of sustainable wineries in Bordeaux has nearly doubled in the last six years as more producers see both the environmental, but also commercial advantages in switching their production. The region is now on course to have 100% of its wineries running some sort of certified sustainable scheme by 2030. For a region that is so often celebrated more for how well its different appellations are performing this is a case of individual steps for collective gain, as Jessica Broadbent finds out in this analysis of what other steps Bordeaux is taking to safeguard and grow its future.
If we did not appreciate China’s influence on the global wine market before 2020 then Covid-19 has changed all that. As it was the first country to be struck with the virus, it was also the first to close its borders and go into a nationwide lockdown sending ripples across the international wine trade as producers suddenly had mass volumes of wine they needed to find a home for. Thankfully China was also the first major nation to seemingly get a grip of Covid-19 and is now in a fast recovery mode. But what is the real situation on the ground and what impact has it had on imports? Jessica Broadbent tuned into the recent online Vinexpo Shanghai debates to find out.
We’ve seen wine businesses enjoy incredible success online during Covid-19 as wine drinkers stuck at home had no choice but to turn to Google to find the wines they like. But how much of that increase in sales was down to luck and how much of it was due to the digital expertise of the individual wine companies involved? Digital marketing consultant, Brooke Herron sets out five areas where wineries in particular, but any drinks business looking to sell online, need to get right in order to make the most of their ecommerce opportunity.
If you look at any consumer or drinks analyst report for 2020 they will all talk about the trends that were rife pre Covid-19 have all accelerated during it. But it’s not just industry trends we need to be on top of, but also our personal ones, with issues around wellness, diversity and inclusivity coming to the fore during lockdown. That’s why The Drinks Trust, the charity that has done so much to help individuals across the drinks industry during Covid-19, is conducting its first national industry survey so that it can assess just what it needs to be doing and investing its resources in so that it can help drinks people in the future.
If there is any consolation from the fallout of Covid-19 across the hospitality sector is that we are all in this together – right around the world. Any experiences we have in any particular country can potentially be shared with other wine and drinks teams and restaurateurs in other cities. This was very much the spirit of the recent debates held by Areni Global with fine wine players from four different markets that saw them sharing their stories and solutions. Here Pauline Vicard, Areni’s executive director, summarises what was said.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley might be best known for its Pinot Noir but few may realise how diverse its winemaking community is. Celebrating Hispanic Roots was an event aimed at setting the record straight with six Latinx winemakers from Atticus Wine, Beacon Hill Winery, Cramoisi Vineyard, Gonzales Wine, PARRA Wine and Valcan Cellars telling their stories and showing their wines, the best of which LM Archer tastes and recommends. Not only are the six speakers leaders in their own right but they are also advocates for the Latinx community, particularly for those who work on vineyards.
When we held the first One Step Beyond event in early March to analyse the growing trends and advances in technology that were changing the way we as consumers behaved, the world was a very different place. Even though Covid-19 was rampaging across Europe, in the UK it still felt very much at arm’s length. Seven months on and so many of those emerging, ‘about to happen’ trends discussed at the conference are now very much part of our daily lives shaping the way we live and dictating what businesses need to do to survive. To help assess what changes in consumer behaviour the drinks industry needs to be on top off now and in the months ahead, The Buyer is teaming up again with Sophie Jump to host a special free One Step Beyond webinar with the same experts and panelists from the inaugural conference. Here’s how you can take part.
Wines from all over the world were willing to put themselves to the test in the hope of being selected as one of the top trophy winners in what is the IWSC’s 51st year. Here we reveal the Top 30 wines that the competition’s elite group of judges selected from the thousands of wines entered that they believe deserve a trophy of their own with particular standout wins for France, Australia, Hungary, South Africa and England.
As we all grapple with finding the right ways to talk about and sell ourselves online, The Buyer’s new Digital Hub looks to take a look both inside and outside the drinks industry to see what we can learn from others. This time round we look at the kind of technology that works and is needed in hospitality; why Amazon wants to attract luxury brands; how we can now sell on Instagram IGTV; and what we can learn from Walmart’s new digital-first store concept.
One of the biggest trends that was on fast forward before lockdown, and been on triple speed throughout Covid-19, has been sustainability and what brands and businesses consumers are buying products from are doing to act more responsibly. One of the big areas that the drinks industry, and wine in particular needs to get right, is its packaging, design and supply chains. Ahead of this month’s One Step Beyond free webinar, James Harmer of Cambridge Design Partnership looks at how a new scientific approach, to packaging and design can help companies take sensible, incremental and effective steps towards full carbon neutral sustainability.
TV’s Jack Whitehall and his father have done more for the Moldovan wine industry than any number of government marketing campaigns could have. The scale of Moldovan wine is fast getting appreciated (it has the highest number of vines per capita worldwide) and the former Soviet state has every right to become a major world wine player if it plays its cards right – and that means bringing much-needed quality control to its wines, both international and a plethora of ‘native’ grapes. To coincide with Moldova’s National Wine Day we are re-posting this popular feature.
How you deal with a crisis has been the subject of business self help books for years.The impact of Covid-19 will no doubt result in a few more book shelves being filled up with pandemic ‘how tos’ for years to come. But those taking part in the WSTA’s online summit last month were treated to the advice and experience from a number of leading business chiefs, both inside and outside the drinks industry, on how they have coped with Covid-19. Richard Siddle assesses what we can all take out of the management and leadership challenges that the last six months have thrown up.
The Buyer’s new ‘Digital Hub’ has been set up to provide a regular series of updates looking at the latest initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how they might need to do business in the future. This time we look at why the likes of Apple and Nike are investing so much in new fitness and lifestyle apps and what it can help them understand about what their consumers want. Plus we look at why going direct to consumer makes increasing sense for brands but only if they invest in search and support services that can make them invaluable.
The three separate London Drinks competitions for wine, spirits and beer are all run on the same basis – to judge drinks in the same way that consumers do: by what they taste like; what the bottle or design looks like; and how much it costs. Having introduced the 2021 wine competition last week we turn our attention to the London Spirits Competition with details on how to take advantage of super early day pricing and the standards set in the 2020 awards.
For all the wine trade’s love of terroir and sense of place the average wine consumer chooses what bottle to buy primarily on how much it costs, what it looks like and what it tastes like. Not always in that order, but there or thereabouts. It’s why the London Wine Competition uses those three criteria to choose the medal and trophy winners in its competition. Here’s how you can enter its 2021 competition and take advantage of super early day pricing if you enter by September 30.
It is testimony to the expertise within the global wine industry that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic it has not had an impact on the movement of wine around the world. But what it has done has put enormous pressure on cash flow as both producers and buyers have had to move fast to find new channels where they can sell wine. VINEX, the online trading platform for bulk and bottled wine, has launched a new fast track payment service – VINPay – that it hopes can go a long way to addressing those issues. In a nutshell it has set up a fund through which it can guarantee to pay wine producers up to 80% of a buyer’s invoice within three days of them shipping the wine, and then give buyers terms to repay the money up to 150 days. Hopefully freeing up cash liquidity up and down the global wine supply chain.
From a business point of view 2020 will be remembered as the year that we all went online both to do business and stay in business. The Buyer’s new Digital Hub has been set up to provide a regular series of updates looking at the latest initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how they might need to do business in the future. This week we look at a number of new initiatives including how Davy’s is using audio tasting notes to bring its wines to life, what we can learn from how singer Lloyd Cole is using Patreon to get far closer to his fans…and earn some money when he can’t perform.
From a business point of view 2020 will be remembered as the year that we all went online both to do business and stay in business. Regardless of how well you had invested in digital and online solutions before Covid-19, the global lockdown and continued fall out from the pandemic has meant we have all had to learn fast how best to use technology to buy, sell, and keep on top of what has been such a fast changing situation. Today The Buyer starts a new regular series of updates looking at the latest steps and initiatives companies are taking in digital and the online trends that are shaping how we need to do business in the future.