If you could create a caricature of an Australian winemaker then David Hohnen, the man behind the iconic Cape Mantelle, Cloudy Bay and McHenry Hohnen brands, would be pretty close to the mark. Blunt, to the point and by his own admission “grumpy looking” but with a sense of humour sharp enough to cut through any conversation. Joe Fattorini caught up with him last weekend on his Margaret River farm just a couple of days before it was announced he is to receive the Order of Australia.
The recent report on mental health issues within the drinks industry, and the seminar itself at the London Wine Fair where the results were unveiled, raise a number of key issues that need to be faced, understood and acted upon. But does it go far enough on what makes our industry unique – working with alcohol – and should this be singled out as a focus of Phase 2 of the campaign? Peter Dean read the report, attended the seminar and talked to the key protagonists after the event.
With so many wine competitions it can be hard to know which ones to enter. But if you’re a producer or an emerging wine region or country looking to build your profile and find any new way to make a story for your wine, then arguably the most important thing to do is enter. Give yourself a chance to be a contender. Lilla O’Connor, of Wines of Hungary, explains why she’s so proud of the efforts Hungarian producers have made in this year’s major wine competitions like the International Wine Challenge and why it’s so important for the country as a whole.
It was so inevitable. Just as tongues were wagging about how the London Wine Fair had lost some of its Mojo, the event organisers delivered a knockout show that had attendees up by 17%. Those UK importers who did take a stand reported brisk business. Chris Wilson was there and reported back for The Buyer, saying how new innovations across the three days really did draw in the crowds and deliver the results.
“I can’t help but wish I was sitting in a village café in the South of France with a bottle of glorious salmon pink wine, a bowl of bouillabaisse, the mistral rustling through the trees, and Marion Cotillard sat just…” Well we can all but dream and thankfully for us Mike Turner has put his wishful thinking about all things South of France and most of all Provence rosé to paper, with this open love letter to a style of wine that, well, he simply can’t do without. Which is a sentiment shared not just by him, but the customers in his north London restaurant and millions of others around the country.
Now we can’t all rely on the talents of Dan Draper to come up with an award winning advertising or marketing campaign, but we can all learn some of the tricks of the trade that clever brand developers and designers use to connect with their target customer on a subliminal and cognitive level without us even realising it. Alex Ririe of brand agency, Coley Porter Bell, explains some of the work it does to “seduce the subconscious and convince the conscious”.
Why do some wines sell better than others? Why are people willing to pay more for one wine over another? The answer may lie not in the quality of the wine or how much a person even knows about it, it will most certainly rest in how well you are selling it. Joe Fattorini explains why we all need to start using the skills of psychology, advertising and marketing if we really want to sell more and better wine.
Too often seen as an easy-going afternoon summer drink, Vinho Verde is a serious and complex wine – both red and white – that is perfect for food matching of many kinds. So says Mike Turner, who reaffirms his love with the Northern Portuguese wine a year after his Damascene moment – although he didn’t quite expect to have to put his money where his (motor) mouth is when the Vinho Verde publicity team gave him a call…
“What can men do to support women in the wine trade? And why should they bother?” Sounds like one of those books you can pick up for a fiver next to the check-out at Waterstones. But it would well worth the read if you did. It’s an issue that has long bubbled away under the surface of the wider drinks industry as well as the wine trade itself. It’s also a topic that Joe Fattorini will help address at a debate at next week’s London Wine Fair on gender diversity within the sector.
We might all talk about how fast the drinks industry is changing and how businesses are having to adapt to keep up with shopper and consumer demands and new and different ways to buy wine, beers and spirits. But when you strip it all back, how different is your business model to what it was three to five years ago? If it’s not then read on…