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July 04, 2008

Financial Mail Wine Business Awards- I was privileged enough to share the stage with some illustrious wine personalities to judge the first ever FM Wine Business Awards recently. Great party, by the way. What does it mean though, wine business? Do South African wine makers even have a clue? With a few exceptions, I don't think so. Traditional methods no longer work, I personally never watch TV except sport, in real time, recording programs and watching them later saves time and also allows me to skip through the adverts. Motorists on busy highways are inundated with large banners advertising products and barely notice them anymore, unless they are catchy and stand out, or controversial. And who gets time to read magazines anymore, most professionals, which you have to admit has the know how and money to buy wine, read academic periodicals and maybe a favourite lifestyle mag, I have magazines from February that I haven't read yet, so by now old news.

The low cost marketing award was one of the categories that I had to judge, and boy oh boy, it was shocking to see what some wine farms perceived a marketing campaign to be. Reps on the road and attending wine shows, I think it has now been proven that these don't work. Wine shows are for people to get pissed and forget your name the moment Elvis has left the building.
So what do we do? Well, first you need to know what you are selling and to whom you want to sell, restaurant sales are not a means to an end and few people remember the wine they had the next day...I speak from experience, "May we please have that wine with the duck on?"-which turns out to be a porcupine and a Shiraz not a Pinotage.

I am asking you the consumer, how you would like to have wines promoted to you, that would make an impact on your buying patterns? And not just a spur of the moment purchase, but a lifetime of commitment to a particular wine farm (if they keep the quality up, most people keep buying the same wine even though it has become undrinkable).

In the world of U-Tube, Facebook and My Space, wine makers should be making catchy videos of harvest, people enjoying there wines and even posting videos of boring wine shows. Get it out there man, the youth of today are moving onto coolers faster than you can say Breezer! We need to get them back and fast, by 30 no self respecting person should be drinking coolers, they should be sipping delicious and well made wines, talking with authority about the wine and the variety.

Start spreading the must conquer the SA drinking population...we are behind boys and girls.

Well done to Stormhoek by the way, the winner in the low cost marketing category, I look forward to some more innovative wine marketing from the dynamic Mr Graham Knox...

Happy wine shopping...time for some Rose, I think... :-)

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