SA Q&A Panel Series 2 – Connecting with Trade – what works?

With a couple of vintages behind me, a decent amount of time in hospitality and a handful of years at university in wine science, I like to think I have a decent basis to talk ‘all things wine’. However, I absolutely love that humbling feeling of sitting down and listening to experts, to realise that some days I’m also just about as green as Kermit the Frog. I mean – who doesn’t love working in an industry where you can always learn a little bit more?

So, heading off to Pony and Cole on a Thursday night to hear Shane Tremble (Endeavour Drinks), Michael Andrewartha (East End Cellars), Cynthia Gemus (Negociants Australia) and Richard van Ruth (Ootra) talk about connecting with trade in the wine industry was a great experience. All four speakers, and excellent host Stuart Bourne (Soul Growers, Barossa), brought great contributions to the WCA Q&A discussion on how to connect with trade, and effectively move a bottle of wine. They shared insights into consumer needs and desires and what you can do to play into that, and of course they told us all that you shouldn’t walk into a bar in the middle of summer with a suitcase full of heavy reds to show to the manager. 

But then, things like value-adds and promos? Does it move your wine quicker if the bottle comes with a branded pair of thongs? It seems the experts were fairly certain this usually is not the case, and definitely not when getting the wine to a retailer. However, adding value by getting consumers more involved with a winery after buying a bottle (or twelve) does have impact – clearly the reason why ‘meet the maker’ at wineries and events brings out any wine lover.

The idea behind this value add is actually quite simple, and the main message delivered by all the speakers on this subject; get to know the story of a wine. Whether it is getting the bottle from the winemaker to the retailer, from the sommelier to your glass at dinner, or from the shelves to the consumer – tell the story of who made it.

I walked out thinking that this was the perfect first lesson for a wine media cadet. I intend to find all the stories of grape growers, winemakers and –slingers and maybe even the drinkers, to bring those stories to you.


Written by:  Lieke van der Hulst, WCA 2018 Wine Media Cadet recipient