If the Top 100 competition wanted to really make an impact they should’ve just made their whole entry criteria a lot easier and viable for everyone, big and small. That would’ve caused a stir I am sure.
Why, I ask the question? Because no one dares to try something new or search for new exciting wines and actually promote them? Would Eben Sadie have had the profile he has today without all the PR and write-ups? We all know the power of the pen, or these days the keyboard, and the journalists know it too. Especially those writing for big websites or magazines that have a huge amount of followers/readers and who can change perceptions. Yet they all go to the same events, write about the same events and review the same wines.
Last week someone tweeted about the amazing launch of Brampton etc, and I had to reply “anything can be done with money”, because that is what the smaller guys don’t have. Have you ever seen a rich guy without a HOT girl on his arm? In a previous blog I gave a couple of ideas on how a smaller producer can use his budget effectively and they are the people who will benefit most in this regard…so here goes.
Why don’t you stop writing about all the well known brands/wineries and do yourself a favour by searching for hidden gems. Search for Estates/producers who have been around longer than you have been walking, but who can’t afford a launch or tasting at The Mount Nelson or Butcher Shop. What about the new guy who started a boutique brand on his family’s farm or renovated his Great Grandfathers cellar to make his dream come true. This is the wines that I believe the public wants to know about and the kind of information that is newsworthy and interesting don’t you think? How many times must I read about how old Winery X is or how wonderful C Wines are when I can go to the local Supermarket and buy a bottle. These brands are well advertised, promoted and accessible all over the country.
The social calendar of journalists/bloggers/wine writers has probably been filled with events for the ‘big wine brands’ launching new vintages, new wines or a new cellar door sales girl. Just ask Anel Grobler, Spit-or-Swallow fame, how quickly she started to get invited to all kinds of events once Spit-or-Swallow got noticed!! Flying them all over the country to taste and attend events and of course, write about it. Spit or Swallow presents a very good platform to smaller wineries to get noticed and talked about because of their Wineflies. The Wineflies are normal people who just want to travel and have fun with wine while discovering new producers, new wines and not necessarily go to your mainstream places. Visit the website www.spitorswallow.co.za and you might even learn about places.
Jean Engelbrecht mentioned at the Vinpro Day in January that the local media must be more positive about our industry rather than always looking for problems or negative topics to write about. Maybe this is a good start by really trying to discover more of the unknown, lesser known or even older Family brands who just do not have the money to compete with what goes around. The journalist who starts this will get more followers on twitter, more friends on Facebook and much more pats on the back from the father, son or grandson who has to continue his family’s legacy. The information that you supply to the consumer is invaluable and cannot be measured in
Rand and Cent, but definitely by the number of people who suddenly knocks on your cellar door or orders from the farm.
I can imagine that life is tough up there to decide which events you will actually like to attend, after all who will say no to a Freebie of some kind. Next time weigh up your options on where you will actually find something new, exciting, informative and special that will easily make up 3000 words. What about a chat with Oom Johnny Burger about the history of Rietvallei Estate, stories about the days before screwcaps and PET bottles, the industry 30 years ago and funny things that have happened over the years with him, his forefathers and what he thinks of the industry today. This is the kind of stories that keeps glasses full and ‘hits’ on websites increase…try it, you have nothing to lose!!! Or maybe what I will do is launch a wine at R10000 only 100 bottles made and 10 barrels used…bet that will get a S#%t load of attention and LOTS of write-ups J