It’s not the wine talking…

Last week, I spoke at a wine industry seminar about how to make wine more engaging for people buying it. Ahead of the talk, I turned to you lot to save my little-larger-than-I’d-like backside. I emailed some of you and asked via the BritMums forum if anyone had any views they could share. The response was overwhelming; so much thoughtful, honest feedback. The common threads were:

  • Wine speak is confusing/too vague/too flowery
  • In-store signage is a nightmare
  • Price offers: we love ’em (tight budgets) but don’t believe all of them
  • Master/student gap needs bridging – stop with the patronising stance!
  • Confidence is key – make it easier to understand and we’ll buy better wine

So, thank you all for your time and thoughts. I’m pretty sure it is going to make a positive difference and I’ll report back how in due course. 
Current white in the fridge: Tiki Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Waitrose, £5.99 on offer
You see, every time I think I’ve had enough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, along comes another one with a groovy label and I have to KNOW. Is it really going to be any good at that price? Isn’t it going to taste just like the other one I had the other week whose name I can’t even remember now? Turns out it is rather good. Yes, it is fairly similar to that last one but it is fresh & bright & crisp & lime-juice-like and feels like great value. Made from grapes grown in the slightly cooler Awatere Valley, in the Marlborough region, at the top of the South Island. Perfect glass-whilst-cooking-dinner material.  

Current red on the side: The Waxed Bat Shiraz / Petit Verdot 2010, Laithwaites, £7.99
OK, so I didn’t buy this one. And no, I’ve not been stealing. It was a leaving present from a dinner that I went to last week (same day as the talk – what a day that was), a fundraiser for ActionAid. I was one of two ‘wine experts’ asked to play a ‘Call My Wine Bluff’ game, identifying wines by taste and story alone. It gets better. The panel consisted of Jo Brand, Charles Dance, Clive Anderson, James Purefwoar and Nicholas Owen. Yes, I humiliated myself in front of 200 people & 5 celebs. More on that next week. The wine? Gorgeous. Enormous. Ripe black fruits. A beast with a soft side. Needs food: leftover Shepherd’s Pie, preferably. Made from a blend of Shiraz and the hard-to-find Petit Verdot grape in Mendoza, Argentina.  
IOU x 
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  1. Glad it went well!

    I was just thinking about wine tastings (looking at the item on your list about master/student). I've been to a few in the UK and I always feel interested yet clueless and like the master is simply tolerating my presence while he enjoyed the beautiful wine he chose for the evening.

    Then I went to one in Dallas. The master was in jeans and a cowboy shirt (but he was British!!). He sat at the table with the group, sometimes stood and walked around but he was just one of the gang. He didn't care that people weren't spitting out wine, he laughed along with the rest of the giggling group, and when no one seemed to like one wine he went off and found another to replace it (we were in a wine shop).

    I wasn't sure which I preferred. The pomp of the UK guy (which was entertaining in its own way) or the let-your-hair-down nature of the Dallas guy. I guess I felt I could ask the Dallas guy a lot more questions.

    At the least, it was interesting comparing the styles!

  2. Michelloui – next time I do a KMWC tasting I might have to force you to come! In fact, I rocked a Whistles check shirt at the last one, so sort of Dallas-ish. There is usually a lot of noise, both chat and the swishing of wine, and very little spitting, obviously 😉 I think as long as the content is good, you can do it both ways, as it were. I prefer the latter. Thanks – as ever – for comments…

  3. KM,
    Some egghead computer whizz must be able to list all the wines for sale in UK supermarkets and show up all those which have been on half price promtion. That's a good place to start – ie avoid them. Then, of all the others, I would like to be able to categorise them by indivudual supermarket buyer and rank the quality/price ratio of the wines. That way, we could rank the ability of the supermarket buyers themselves. Next we could have a custard tart / wet sponge throwing device icon thingy on our computers to chuck at the worst performing buyers and highlight the rest of the rubbish they are listing. It won't change a thing but I'd feel better!

  4. Godfather – you lunatic, you.

  5. Master/student gap…don't particularly believe in dumbing down the wine experience for a consumer (I'm one myself). Having folks literally listen to Cabernet sauvignon going through the snap, crackle, and pop of ML in the barrel this week (at the winery where I am employed), I try to put it in layperson terms, but it's rather a complex subject…so I stick to not treating people like idiots!

  6. Vinogirl – and that was their point, don't treat them like idiots. What a wonderful thing to do, show them the snap,crackle & pop of MLF. Big favour, can you take a little video of something similar happening in your winery and I can out it on here to show what it looks like behind the scenes? Would be fab.

  7. Hmmm…everything is barreled down here, at home and at work. I wish I could mic up the barrel and get an audio of the MLF, it's quite dramatic, but I don't think it'd work (and it will probably be over by the time I go back in on Monday). Sorry, maybe next year?

  8. Vinogirl – def next year, would be brilliant. Not looking for anything glossy (have you SEEN my vlogs)?!

  9. And that's why your blog is always so refreshing! You always strike the right note! "Glass while cooking" I'll have a bit of that…

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