Monday 23rd October saw our NSW Chapter put on their thinking – and drinking – chapeaus and get stuck into Under the Influence – Who really holds sway in wine-buying decisions today? An idea shamelessly stolen following the Victorian Chapter’s successful series of events, we gathered disparate views from across the industry to pick apart consumer influences and decision making.

The panel comprised:

Jason Bowyer, Buying Director for Wines & Sparkling at ALDI Stores

Bryson Doak, Account Manager for Pernod Ricard

Tiago Cardoso da Silva, Co-CEO, @thecheeseandwineco

Sam Payne, Sommelier, Wine Writer and Wine Consultant

Alex Retief, Owner & Winemaker, Urban Winery Sydney & A. Retief Wines

With the always charming Ralph Dunning as our esteemed MC.

To aid in the fermentation of our intellectual juices, wines on the evening were Byron & Harold’s The Partners 2016 Riesling, a sit-up-straight Great Southern, Taylors Wines 2017 ‘Taylor Made’ a pretty and pale Pinot Noir Rose from Adelaide Hills, and Alex Retief’s 2015 Hilltops Petit Verdot which is a heady, juicy delight.

A robust discussion of the often-deafening noise surrounding purchasing decisions today ensued. Critics still matter, medals less so for some. Tiago reminded us to focus on the ‘social’ in social media and all agreed that labels will always impact on that final grab for the bottle.

In conclusion it was decided the consumer is always the most important decision maker – with many qualifiers of course.

WCA are extremely grateful to our panelists for their time and insights, Wine Ark for providing their stunning tasting room at Alexandria as our space for the evening, and Riedel for the glassware.