July 22, 2008
Cape Exclusive wine event- This time of the year is traditionally the "season" for wine shows, one after the other till around October, the poor wine makers pouring out litres of wine in the hope that a couple of drunk people will remember the wine and then go out and buy it, it is especially hard for the premium brands as purchases for these wines are reserved for the select few who can afford to splurge, they are most unlikely to hang out at wine shows though. It is also most annoying for the wine makers when long cues of people try to taste only the most expensive wines, with no interest in the content, the wine making techniques or anything of consequence, and it's merely a matter of being able to say that they have had such and such a wine to impress their mates.
I have often lamented on the futility of such wine shows and thus did not expect myself last night to find any wines that would be highly recommendable, in the fog of tasting and talking, however, as a somewhat experienced wine taster, I was delighted to taste two new wines from the Overgaauw estate that mightily impressed me, the one was their new Chenin Blanc and the other was their Semillon (the likes of which I have never tasted), it would certainly fool most experienced wine tasters in a blind tasting, the most wondrous fruit, good balance and length, the price of both these wines are in the R40 range and highly recommended.
I was once again impressed by the Oak Valley wines, the Sauvignon Blanc was most delicious, with a flavour profile very unlike anything that I have tasted from Elgin recently, none of that really in your face acidity that leads to an instant sinus attack.
If you are having a fun day around the pool and want to start of with something even more fun, the Brampton Rose was a delight, a seriously tootie fruity wine with a colour perfectly matched to that of maraschino cherries. I would recommend a block of ice if you don't lean towards the sweeter of rose styles. A good picnic wine that will go well with most strong cheeses, made with Rhone varieties, unlike so many Pinotage Rose wines. Fabulous with sun dried tomatoes, goats cheese and Parma ham
As a non-drinker of Pinotage I made a point of tasting some of the top Pinotage, I found the Southern Right too fruity and too bitter, simultaneously. However the Kanonkop Pinotage was very good as usual, showing such elegance and finesse that one might mistake it for a French wine from a top region.
Join in the tasting fun in the next few months and remember to respect the wines and the winemakers and to at least make an attempt to record your favourites so as not to waste all the time and effort that the wine makers have expended to attend the wine shows so diligently.
And remember, bottles of tasting stock cost the wine farms a lot of money, so don't be greedy :-)
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 word...wine 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... :-)