Tag Archives: decanter

Your views on Wine Experts

Andrew Jefford has issued a request for views regarding:

“whether the palates of professional wine buyers, sommeliers and wine critics are ‘too developed’.”

This is for an article in Decanter, so get on down to his site and leave him some thoughts on the world of wine reviews, wine buying and even wine service.

I have left my initial thoughts on his site (still pending comment moderation at this time), and I think readers of this blog, many of you bloggers and trade professionals yourselves, will have your own views. Why not have them published in Decanter?

French Letters – ANPAA

However hard we try to talk up the future for French wines, and France’s chances of developing a reasonable attitude to wines in the modern world, some organisation manages to come along and shatter our illusions.

Hot on the heels of the ruling about health warnings on Champagne articles, here is the latest news, courtesy of Decanter (assuming you can get their site working as it keeps crashing on me):

Web cannot advertise alcohol

Of course this current ruling is aimed at Heineken, but I wouldn’t rate the chances of a Vin2.0 culture developing in the land of Liberty, Equality & Fraternity any time soon.


How is a consumer expected to care about Bio-dynamic or Organic wine?

According to a study, consumers are confused. I wonder why?! With regard to why they purchase:

Biodynamic is less important than Organic
Organic is less important than the vintage
Vintage is less important than the winemaker
Winemaker is less important than the region
Region is less important than the country
Country is less important than the Varietal
Varietal is less important than the price
and finally,
Price is less important than the “deal” or “offer”

How is the average wine buyer to even start to consider whether the wine is either organic (which they at least have heard of) or bio-dynamic (which they certainly haven’t)? They aren’t even quite sure if the varietal name they have heard before is red or white.

The problem with marketing in the wine trade to some extent is explained by the fact that the differences, if any, between any wines are all at the top of that list, and therefore far beyond the interest levels of the consumer.

Therefore we have the following options:

Give them a(nother) deal
Join the me-too brigade focused solely on the varietals
Spend millions in the hope to increase wine “education & understanding” amongst consumers
Give them another, very different, reason to buy YOUR wine

Stormhoek are doing this last one. Magners have done it in cider. Levis did it for jeans.

As Hugh says, “go after the magic”.

Unfortunately, in the commercial arena, bio-dynamics are still just hocus-pocus, not magic.

Who wants to win a wine competition?

It is that time of year again. Lots of forms to complete, samples to request and deliver, and monies to pay.

The 2007 wine competitions “open their doors” in March so they can announce their results at the London Wine Trade Fair (or London International Wine and Spirit Fair to give it its full title – although I see they cheat on their URL as well themselves).

Are they worth the effort and cost? So many people are involved in the logistics of organising and running these events, and so much money is spent by producers to take part. What for?

Do the consumers really care?

There may be the occasional award that captures the public’s imagination (I imagine Decanter Man/Woman of the Year has some impact in certain circles), but does an IWC/Decanter/IWSC/etc. Gold/Silver/Bronze medal mean anything to the person being asked to spend their money?

I am dubious.

What are the key influencers on consumers these days beyond their “internalised” decisions (target price, recognised brand, previous experience, …)? Is it the Press? Is it recommendations? Is it extra gold stickers on the bottle? Can they even be influenced (I think the evidence points to “yes”)?

As with many things today a good thing has been taken to the extreme, so much so that it has become worthless. If there is only one award event, then communicating its results, and its value, would be easy. When there are multiple events, with competing messages and rules, conflicting results, innumerable categories and interminable lists of “winners”, they become worthless.

Worse than that, they become one more bit of the ‘noise’ facing a consumer trying to make a decision. Instead of making it easier, they make it harder.

Of course there is no going back, so maybe the trade needs to decide what it wants, who offers the best solution for achieving this, and back a single horse instead?