Two and a half years after taking the job of CEO at the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Chris Yorke finally cut the ribbon on VieVinum 2022 last Saturday, the first of the influential wine fairs he has helmed. The three day wine fair, that first started in 1998, has been a key part of the internationalisation and premiumisation of Austrian wine and so it proved again with Yorke and his team riding the crest of a wave which has seen them successfully cope during the pandemic by boosting exports and keeping the domestic fires burning.
“Online shopping has its acronyms, technologies, and innovation. But at its heart it digitises the human experience of walking into a wine shop. In a shop or restaurant you’d listen. Online you just have to use different sorts of ears.” That’s how the team at Pix, the new online wine discovery and search platform, analyses its users and consumers to work out what they are looking for from wine online. In the first of what will be a regular series of insights, Pix suggests four online tools that can help you analyse your own traffic data on your site to create more effective content and lists of wines that your consumers are wanting to buy. From Google Trends to Google Ads there are free existing tools out there that can unlock your online sales data and help you make more informed decisions about the wines you source, list, promote and sell.
“As South Korea’s cultural economy firmly imprints itself across the globe, another phenomenon is building within South Korea itself – a rapidly expanding market for imported wines.” That’s the view of marketing and trade agency, Nimbility, that specialises in distributing and building drinks brands across Asia. It sees South Korea as the key market to watch as trends that have blossomed in lockdown, including a big demand for drinking wine at home, are now helping to open up the international wine market for wine producers and brand owners alike.
From modest beginnings in Tony and Veronica Cleary’s living room, the Lanchester Group of companies, which includes Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling, has grown into a much-admired business with an enviable record on sustainability. A restless pioneer of renewable energy, with a proven track record for pushing at the boundaries of green technology, the County Durham-based group is investing in a new state-of-the-art, self-powered home for its Greencroft Bottling company that Tony Cleary believes will be ‘the most sustainable such building of its kind on the planet’. As David Kermode finds out, for Cleary, sustainability is about the head, as much as the heart.
If you want to sell wine in the on-trade then here’s some new wine research you need to read, digest and take action on. KAM, the consumer research analysts that usually focus their attention on the pub, bar, and convenience store sectors, has produced its first dedicated study that looks to better understand exactly what it is the average consumer wants out of wine when they are going out for a drink. Produced in partnership with Hallgarten & Novum Wines it is based on interviews with 500 wine drinkers at the end of February and clearly identifies which wine styles and price points are most in demand, but also shows just how important good customer service is when selling wine and, in particular, the need for staff to make the whole wine buying experience more relaxed and not intimidating. As Colin Cameron, marketing director for Hallgarten & Novum Wines says: “The reward is too big for pubs, bars, and restaurants to let these customers slip away. Life maybe too short for bad wine, but, in the eye of the customer, it’s also too short for bad service and bad experiences. Good wine and good experiences, however, could be the key to a very long, and successful life, for our venues.” Get it right and there could be at least £500 a year per customer, per venue up for grabs. Read Richard Siddle’s analysis of the KAM study here.
Despite shortfalls in supply created by the poor 2021 harvest and issues with shipping, last week’s New Zealand Wine event provided many reasons to be cheerful. Average bottle prices are up, Kiwi Rosé is booming, vineyard acreage is up, the 2022 harvest is back to normal levels and there’s a new trade agreement coming this year. Geoffrey Dean welcomed the event back after two years away, talks to NZ Winegrowers’ Chris Stroud and picks six wines that stood out at the tasting.
In the first part of our New York Pitch project in partnership with the New York Grape & Wine Foundation we helped to bring producers looking to export to the UK together with leading buyers from key importers and the chance to hear about their wines. Here we dig a little deeper into what New York State can offer by picking out the wine styles that the buyers think have the most potential to do well in the UK and why the region has so much to offer in terms of cool climate, fresh, pure fruit forward, acid driven wines with low alcohols.
There are many ways for producers and buyers to meet. Be it at tastings, international trade fairs or personal visits to the winery. During the pandemic we also all went online to do business via zoom and found new ways of working together. Which is very much what The Buyer and New York Wine Grape Foundation wanted to do with our “New York Pitch” project and the chance for leading UK buyers to meet and hear the stories of a number of New York State wineries looking to find listings in the UK through a series of ‘Dragons Den’ style pitches via zoom. Here we look at the producers that took part and what potential UK buyers think New York as a region has in the UK and which wine styles and price points are best placed to do well in this market.
“There’s a growing focus on climate change in the wine sector, and that’s obviously incredibly important. Much is being learned, and we’d like to help share that knowledge.” That in a nutshell is the role of Sustainable Wine Roundtable, a body set up by Tobias Webb, to act as a catalyst, think tank, agitator and facilitator in helping the wine industry take effective action to drive a sustainable agenda. Here Webb sets out the cross industry work that he and his team does that feeds into the expertise that Sustainable Wine can offer and what to expect at its forthcoming two day conference in June.
“Rueda is in a unique position. Other regions around the world would die to have what Rueda has.” That was pretty much the universal conclusion of a panel of leading wine buyers who came together last week to taste and talk through a wide selection of wines from Rueda, and debate what they see as being the region’s key calling cards and areas of growth and potential, but also address what it needs to do more to make the most of what they see as its “unique” position in Spain and the Spanish wine category as a whole. Richard Siddle was on hand to pose the questions and assess the answers.
There’s barely any time for the senior Bibendum management team to be blowing the candles on its 40-year anniversary cake as they are tasked with playing their part in owners – the C&C’s Group – new centralised buying strategy that tasks Bibendum with driving its premium wine strategy across the on and off-trades. Michael Saunders, one of Bibendum’s co-founders, and Harriet Kininmonth, C&C’s new group wine trading director, sit down with Richard Siddle to set out its future strategy, as well as reflect on how far the business has come since its start in the early 1980’s, and what a wine distributor now needs to do to be relevant both to its producers and its customers.
Understanding intellectual property laws is not high on the average wine professional’s wish list, but if you want to do business in China and have any chance of success then it is absolutely paramount that you are 100% on top of your IP and trademarks for each of your brands. If you are not then you could be in for a whole lot of trouble. That’s the on-the-ground advice from Nimbililty, the specialist marketing and trade agency that works with leading wine and spirits producers in distributing and promoting their products across China and the main Asian markets and making sure they are set up legally and have all their IP under control.
Sales of wine online boomed so much during Covid that the category is still catching up to fully understand what it actually means to have a successful, profitable e-commerce platform. This is where WineDirect and Enolytics come in with the first ‘Direct to Consumer Impact Report’ that crunches the numbers like never before – analysing trends and insights from over 160 million orders from over 25 million consumers. Here Wine Direct’s Andrea Smalling and Enolytics Cathy Huyghe pick out the key trends and findings from their breakthrough research.
Inspired by the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, The California List, which was launched on Wednesday in London, is a new 51-strong list of seminal Californian wine producers, being formally acknowledged for the first time for their impact on the UK market. Judged by a panel led by Jancis Robinson MW and including Ronan Sayburn MS, the List was launched at a ritzy West End reception, with 32 of the producer’s wines being poured including library stock of Harlan Estate, Opus One and new wave producers such as Radio-Coteau. Peter Dean was our man at the launch who heard from Robinson, Sayburn and others about the rationale behind the concept.
National drinks distributors are used to having the kitchen sink thrown at them. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s what they are built for. But having to deal with a pandemic, a total shutdown of a large part of your business and major shortages and slow down in the global supply chain is the equivalent of having the whole kitchen thrown at you. With an Aga on top. Richard Siddle talks to Ants Rixon, managing director of Enotria&Coe, about how it has had to adapt to the ever changing business conditions, but has also been on the front foot, acquiring key new producer partners, widening its customer base and setting the business up to move forward in the months and years ahead. He also reflects on what is the company’s 50th anniversary, future challenges and opportunities for the drinks distributors and importers and what it is doing to mark its half century.
On Friday 18th February, Plumpton College ran a webinar showcasing some of the most exciting and intriguing research projects from this year’s graduating classes. Students from across the undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes presented their work to trade and media to highlight the progressive work being undertaken at the College. The Buyer’s Mike Turner was in attendance and managed to speak to the course leaders in the days after to find out more about the future direction of research at Plumpton.
The only bottling currently underway in Ukrainian wineries is the making of Molotov Cocktails. Work in the vineyards has stopped as winemakers turn their attention to armed resistance to the Russian invasion of their country and delivering humanitarian aid. L.M.Archer hears from some leading winemakers as well as winemaker associations in Ukraine and how some global consortia and retailers are doing their bit for the Ukrainian cause.
It’s good to talk. It’s even better to do so in person. That was one of the big successes of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. Not just the chance to get back to face-to-face trading on producer stands with buyers, but also the opportunity to come together to debate some of the key issues of the day. Across the three days of the show was a series of Wine Talks covering topics as far and wide as the global supply chain, impact of climate change, and just how bad the proposed new UK duty regime could be for international trade. Richard Siddle reports back on the highlights.
If you have rushed to set up an e-commerce platform during the pandemic, or are a longstanding direct to consumer player, then you might want to put March 24 in your diary. Particularly if you are also an English wine producer. Peter McAtamney, founder of the Australian-based Wine Business Solutions, is coming to the UK to present his first dedicated workshop aimed specifically at the needs of wineries and producers who are stepping into DtC and e-commerce for the first time. Here he explains what to expect.
Bibendum Wine’s recent Eco-Warrior tasting showcased the wines and winemakers from across its portfolio that have championed environmentally and community-conscious practices. The event began with a panel discussion featuring David Sampedro of Bodegas Bhilar in Rioja, Toni Sarrión of Bodegas Mustiguillo in Valenica, and Tom Hanson-Smith of Journey’s End in Stellenbosch, about where we are as a wine industry when we talk about environmental, sustainable and ethical practices, with The Buyer’s Mike Turner having a front row seat.