Like so many of his peers in the wine trade Toby Sigouin first started out on a shop floor working at his local Fuller’s making ends meet as a student. But whilst he first discovered a passion for wine, re-stocking shelves and hosting in-store tastings in a subsequent role as a store manager for Oddbins he also realised if he was to have a serious career in wine he needed to widen his experience. So he was brave enough to step outside the sector and learn the skills you need to succeed in sales by joining Landrover where he was soon one of their top 10 best sales specialists in the country. On returning to wine he joined Forth Wines and following the acquisition by Inverarity Morton he progressed to the senior wine buying role where he has enjoyed considerable success. He has, though, due to Covid-19 now been made redundant and is looking for a new start. Here he shares his experiences and story in wine and how he hopes he can now help others with his new wine consultancy business whilst he also looks for a new senior buying role.
Grapes picked at night by harvesters wearing night-vision goggles is one of the lasting images behind the making of Untouched by Light, the world’s first wine to be harvested, produced, aged and packaged completely in the dark. It is the brainchild of Slovenian winery Radgonske Gorice with the inspiration coming from a paper written by Professor Ann C. Noble, the creator of the wine flavour wheel. But does this elaborate process make a difference? Anne Krebiehl MW was at the virtual tasting and tasted (in the dark obviously) along with winemaker Klavdija Topolovec Špur.
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.
Gigglewater has become a fascinating brand to watch. Launched initially to tap into the phenomenal success of Prosecco, it has carefully moved and adapted to position itself as an umbrella brand that carries the principles of authenticity, wellness, ethics, yet it is also looking to have fun, inspire and raise our spirits at the same time. Attributes that tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Here Catherine Monahan, founder of Gigglewater, sets out in detail how she has developed the brand, on her own, with no sales teams, by using social media, experiential marketing and following a direct to consumer strategy that dove tails with her grocery and trade distribution model.
Wine in cans is becoming increasingly popular and could be a significant segment of the future wine market – both off-trade and on trade – so long as we don’t throw away the opportunity, argues Mike Turner. Overcoming prejudice amongst wine drinkers will not happen, though, unless we start putting better wine in cans and not just marketing it as ‘party wine’. Aside from listing companies that are starting to import quality canned wine, Turner looks at the benefits and pitfalls of cans as a format for selling wine in.
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.
Since its launch 100 years ago Delamain Pale & Dry XO has become a classic cognac for the on trade as well as aficionados worldwide. Its conception and success owed as much to the horrors of the First World War that preceded its launch as it did to the creative explosion of the Roaring Twenties that followed. To celebrate its first century and to reinterpret Pale & Dry for another 100 years meant changing very little. But what Delamain has changed says a lot about how the house sees the development of the cognac market.
Director of European Sales
You could probably make a team out of the number of former English cricketers who now have their own wine brands, but Darren Gough’s wine project is a little different. For a start his name does not appear on the label, and he does not claim to be involved in any part of the winemaking. But he 100% believes in what it stands for. As the the new Care for Wild wine range, launched last week by Freixenet Copestick, shares the name of the South African rhino sanctuary that Gough has been involved with since his playing days. Here Geoffrey Dean shares the story of how Care for Wild wine came about and how it hopes to boost sales of South African wine and help save and protect its endangered rhinos at the same time.
From Iron Maiden to Chivas Regal, Illy Jaffar has been at the forefront of developing new marketing and communications strategies for some of the world’s biggest names, be they brands, individuals – or rock stars. He says the impact Covid-19 has had on how we all now live our lives has been so deep rooted we need a fundamental ‘reset’ in how we now think about still making our drinks brands relevant and exciting, but with very different ways of marketing and bringing them to life. Here he shares some of his ideas.
A new vintage tasting of Torres’ top estate wines is an exploration of terroir, climate and viticulture – along with some world class wines, of course. In addition to showing the wines – including the new Milmanda 2017 and a spectacular Grans Muralles 2016 –Miguel Torres Maczassek revealed Torres’ new projects and pledges.
PA and marketing
Chemin de Moscou
Romanian wine producer, Cramele Recas, stands out from its competition for a number of reasons. Most notably for being its country’s largest wine exporter. It can also lay claim to be a vegan wine producer, on the verge of becoming organic and capable of making a vast swathe of different styles of wine from orange to natural wines, through to supermarket best sellers and Gold medal winning wines in the major international wine competitions. But as we discover, in the latest The Buyer video interview, its owner Philip Cox, has a 100% market-driven focus that allows him to keep at least one or two steps ahead of what its customers might ask for next. He is joined by Matt Johnson, head of his UK team, who explains how going direct to consumer is one of the biggest lessons they have both learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. Together they are prepared to take on the Covid-19 and Brexit challenges that lie ahead, as Richard Siddle reports.
Fifth generation family member and director of Pol Roger, Hubert de Billy, has been spending time recently on the bottling line sticking labels on bottles. Unglamorous work for the company ambassador but morale-boosting and a reflection of how tight this family-owned house is run. On the eve of the launch of the new Pol Roger Vintage 2013, Anne Krebiehl MW talks to de Billy about how they achieved balance in the wine in such a difficult year and why 2013 could be likened to Paris’s Pompidou Centre.
South Africa has been hit particularly badly by the Covid-19 crisis with a series of lockdowns and bans on alcohol putting many wine companies out of business and the loss of many jobs. Including some of the most prominent winemakers in the country. Here the highly respected Johan Delport shares his story and why he is now looking for a new winery or winemaking role, both in South Africa and around the world, having lost his job at Waverley Hills in the latest in our Onwards & Upwards series.
Piedmont and Tuscany will always command the most attention when it comes to putting an Italian wine on your list – these are ‘must haves’ – but Campania, Sardinia, Veneto and Alto Adige are regions that also feature wines of stunning quality that can be a fraction of the price. Peter Dean picks out seven red wines from Enotria&Coe’s extensive Italian portfolio which features wines from all seven of these regions.
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 the final instalment in its current webinar series, trade body New Zealand Winegrowers explored the role that organic, biodynamic, sustainable, and natural wines could play in the future of the industry. While consumers already have a favourable view of New Zealand as a “green” land, panellists acknowledged the progress made by other nations, including Chile and Spain. But some radical ideas were discussed to capitalise on consumers’ growing interest in transparency, as Peter Ranscombe explains.
The Buyer introduced its ‘Raise a Glass To’ awards this summer to shine the light on individuals who we believe have gone the proverbial extra mile to help the industry we all work in. Today we shine the light on Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media, who has helped share the views of leaders right across the hospitality and retail sectors in a series of video interviews from the moment we went into lockdown on March 23, as well as give her own expertise for free in countless webinars and reports she, and her team, have produced during Covid-19. For all your efforts The Buyer Raise a Glass to You.