Tag Archives: Tastings

Creating Buy-in

As with so many things, the last two years have forced change at a faster pace. Countless businesses have managed to pivot to a ‘work from home’ model seemingly in a matter of weeks. Zoom calls became a novelty, then standard fare, then the butt of jokes almost overnight.

How people choose their wine has also evolved. There will always be those that scoop the cheapest wine offering into their trolley while debating if that MIG welder in the middle aisle is a sound investment. But the number of those that want to learn a little more about what they drink has swelled dramatically. Possibly because furlough afforded people the time to drink more and to google more, and because the information is so readily available and increasingly user-friendly.

If you have a mind to, there are apps that offer you wine reviews with the scan of a label, there are even apps that bring the label to life. There are QR codes and embedded links everywhere, even in this magazine. But the strongest platform for enquiry is social media. Posts can introduce you to the wine maker, the brand, the vision even!

An occasional mistake in wine is to try and feed the customer stats. The level of oak or maturation time is important, but very few get excited by numbers. People buy into anecdotes and authenticity. Stories they can then tell their guests when they hold court at a dinner party. Perhaps the producer still ploughs its vineyards with the help of a horse?

These stories play out brilliantly on social media. This can take a consumer product and personalise it to the point that can inspire emotional investment. In some cases this can become a brand following as in the case of Grande Marques or the latest Provence Rosé but, for those that aren’t dripping in marketing budgets and celebrity endorsements, personal honesty can shine through.

In the past few years there has been a surge in demand for organic and regionally authentic wines. The Indie retail customer is no longer content with international grapes grown everywhere. With access to much more information and, recently, more time, the customer is prepared to buy into not just a bottle of wine but the principals and ideas that made that wine. There is a greater level of enquiry which demands a greater level of accountability. As an evolution to brand alignment based on aspiration (those Veuve Wellies may have had their day) we are now seeing emotional alignment to ethical principles. There is more kudos at the dinner party to a wine that has been ethically produced using sustainable principals and region specific grapes than one seen on reality television. I hope…

The increase in access through social media has been bolstered further by online tastings. In order to tap into the demand for experiential tastings a numbers of Indie retailers hosted tasting events during lockdown. Although the logistics of getting wine to anything up to 200 individual homes may have been a headache the opportunity to have the winemaker, often sitting in his or her winery, on the call more than justified it. This offered a level of connection not seen to the average customer and a huge spring board to emotional investment. In a lot of cases it also translated into sales. Not just of the wine tasted but of all wines from the maker.

Some customers will consider a £3 wine excellent value. Some will never leave a specific grape or region. However, there are increasing numbers of the inquisitive, the scrutineers. With phones in hand and apps at the ready looking to introduce new wines and new places to their circles but only once they have scrolled the ‘gram and checked the credentials. Everyone likes a good a story, especially if there is a horse involved.

How to make the sociable product, sociable

Generally I consider myself lucky, because without intention or purpose, after years of experience in the industry, I have found myself in a position where I work alongside one of the most enjoyable, fascinating and sociable products available to anybody anywhere… wine.

 

This most sociable of products certainly makes my job interesting. The grapes, the countries, the stories, the tastes; there are endless variations to wine, and yet there is always something new and exciting round the corner.

 

So, how do you make this most sociable of products reach the most sociable of industries? In my job as Events & Design Manager I create and host a multitude of events, based on theme or focus that is at the forefront of the industry’s mind that can really bring our product to life. As I’m sure you can imagine, the possibilities wine provides are boundless, but therein lies the challenge!

 

How do you come up with new and engaging events about a product that has been around for centuries? The goal is to create tasting environments that are thought-provoking and stimulating, and to ensure that whilst there is a theme, the guest does not get weighed down by that and has the opportunity to do what they came to do: taste wines that will enhance their wine list.

The beauty of wine is that it brings people together. Tasting events do the same – facilitating conversation, allowing everyone to be sociable and engage with a glass in hand, either on their own or with a group of peers.

I want everyone to enjoy Hallgarten Wines tasting events, and yes I know it is business to most, but ultimately pleasure to everyone at the same time!

 

What does it look like? Smell like? Taste like? Sociable events like these represent an opportunity to get up close and personal with the product, and whether you are an expert or not, everyone’s opinion is valid as wine is such a personal, sensory experience, no one can ever be too wrong.

I feel lucky to be the one to establish these sociable occasions and see the joy it brings people. There’s nothing I enjoy more, than the buzz of an event and knowing I’m responsible for putting a smile on people’s faces.