The New Year is understandably the time of the year when it feels right to assess your own life and look back at your achievements and what goals you have for the year ahead. But if that all sounds a bit overwhelming, why not celebrate and admire the successes of others which is very much the spirit of The Buyer’s new series: The 3 Things In Drinks I Wish I’d Been Part Of. Which is what Nicky Forrest, managing director of drinks PR agency, Phipps Relations, is happy to do here.
Running the PR agency, Phipps Relations, means Nicky Forrest is pretty well placed to be able to spot a successful campaign or new business idea. Here’s three she wishes she could have been part of.
1 The Sideways Effect
“Thin-skinned. Temperamental. In need of constant care and attention…. Haunting, brilliant and thrilling.” Who is it?
It’s Pinot Noir of course, aka the main character in the film Sideways. Was there ever a film that did so much for a grape variety? It’s said that Sideways was responsible for Pinot Noir becoming more popular across America with plantings up 170% since the film’s release in 2004. And certainly ever since then, every generic wine body was been wondering just how to get their own grapes centre stage.
In my head for the generic Wines of Germany campaign, I’m picturing a young Ryan Gosling, disillusioned from a break up with his college sweetheart, taking time out cycling around the Mosel and falling in love with Riesling. Because I always think of Riesling as the white version of Pinot Noir, creating beautiful and ethereal wines; wines with a soul.
What Sideways gave the wine industry was hope. Hope that consumers would learn to understand that Pinot Noir (and of course Riesling) really do produce the most thrilling wines on the planet.
I need to tell you straight away that I’m no fan of natural wines. You’ll never find me asking for a pet nat and I like my wines filtered thank you very much.
But that said, I’m just slightly in awe of what bio-dynamic,natural wine champion Ben Walgate has achieved in such a short time with his new venture, Tillingham set amongst the rolling hills of Peasmarsh on the Kent, East Sussex borders. Ben had always dreamed of running a sustainable, poly-cultural farm with vineyards at its heart and this approach, together with his belief in restoring soil to its optimum level of organic matter through a biodynamic approach to vineyard management means that he has managed to create a unique, rural ‘other worldly’ hideaway deep in the East Sussex countryside not far from Rye.
The vineyards overflow with flowers and would make a great front cover for one of the original 1970’s ‘What to look for in Summer’ Ladybird books. And then there are the Georgian qvevris, the Shoreditch cool packaging and the restaurant with rooms with views over the valley.
Oh, and did I mention that Ben is making an English sparkling wine for me from my micro vineyard in Kent. We agreed that we’d be going for a more traditional method Blanc de Blanc style with this one, but if anyone could ever convince me tread the ‘natural’ path it would be Ben.
3 I Heart Wine
From the sublime to the sub optimal. If Tillingham is Keat’s ‘To Autumn’, then I Heart Wine must be Mills & Boon. Hear me out. One of the biggest ever publishing successes, Mills & Boon sells over 200 million romantic novels a year. The critics call them formulaic, simple, predictable, lacking in depth but the fans love them for those very same reasons.
I Heart Wine is an astonishingly simple concept (well done Rachel Archer) and while the wines may be formulaic, predictable and possibly lacking in depth, the concept is diverse, engaging, has no boundaries and has brought wine to life for thousands of people who know little or nothing about the subject.
Interestingly it took a buyer, who knew nothing about wine to list it, just because it made sense to him. His wine knowledgeable buying colleagues were shocked claiming that it wasn’t real wine and what on earth was he doing. I Heart Wine is now the 13th biggest wine brand in the UK, the fastest growing in the top 20 and exported to 46 countries.
Has I Heart Wine taught buyers that their customers come first? Possibly, but I thinks it’s done more than that. I think that in the same way Mills & Boon got people who weren’t really interested in reading to read, I Heart Wines has got people who are interested in wine to drink wine. It has democratised wine drinking and in this day and age anything democratic gets my vote.
- Fancy sharing the 3 Things In Drinks That You Wish You Had Been Part Of? If so send them through, explaining why to Richard Siddle at email@example.com and we will look to share them on The Buyer.