Here are three more South African wine blogs:
Thanks to Mark Forrester for the tip on Withington Wines.
Any more South African wine blogs out there? Email me: email@example.com
By Mike Carter.
For consumers who aren’t interested in delving into a wine’s expressiveness or pinpointing whether a MourvÃ¨dre’s hints of blackberry are outweighed by its overtones of black pepper, what matters most is how well the wine goes with their food. Making it as simple as possible, the Amazing Food Wine Company has launched a fool-proof line of Wine That Loves. Each wine is specifically suited to one dish, which leaves no room for error; these are wines that singularly ‘love’ pizza, grilled salmon or pasta with tomato sauce. The dishes were chosen based on popularity in American households.
Wine That Loves takes the guesswork out of food and wine pairing, while promising “world-class quality, distinctive character and winning style that will also delight wine aficionados.” The wines were picked and paired by Ralph Hersom, a wine expert and professional wine taster, who was Wine Director at New York’s Le Cirque restaurant for seven years.
Here is the Wine That Loves story:
“We created Wine That Lovesâ„¢ because weâ€™ve been fortunate enough to taste what happens when food and wine are paired right and wanted to bring that seemingly elusive pleasure to your dinner table each and every night. Indeed, the idea for Wine That Lovesâ„¢ was born by chance, when one of us went on vacation and had a glimpse of what dinner time could be.”
“One night at dinner, I asked the sommelier to select wines for each course of my meal. Now, Iâ€™ve done this many times before, and too many times, the results have been just so-so. But this time was different. This time, something wonderful happened. I took a bite of my food and then a sip of my wine. Almost immediately, I felt something exciting going on in my mouth. The wine, which tasted great on its own, seemed to pick up even more flavor, nuance, and dimensionality from the food. And with the next bite of food, I noticed that the wine and food flavors together created a taste that was even better than the taste of the food alone. The pleasure was so immense that, after swallowing that first sip of wine, I couldnâ€™t wait to take another bite of food, and then another sip of wine, just to keep the magic going – to keep that new taste sensation alive in my mouth.”
“After hearing this story, we tried to recreate this experience at home but found that we just couldnâ€™t. Not even at some of the best restaurants in New York! Thatâ€™s when we realized that we needed to start this company. The pleasure that comes from wine and food paired right should not be so hard to find. In forming this company, we did what you would have done. We assembled a great team, including one of the best sommeliers in the country and some of the best winemakers in the world. We also worked with chefs and sophisticated food lovers to bring this pleasure to your dinner table each night. Together, we created the wines that love the foods you eat everyday.”
Spotted on: www.springwise.com
“There are really only two kinds of wines in the world, wines that taste like they come from somewhere, and wines that taste as if they could come from anywhere. Australia, to both its benefit and its detriment, has become the world’s master of wines that taste like they could come from anywhere.”
“From a fine wine perspective, and I emphasis that phrase ‘fine wine’, Australia’s mega-wineries are the enemies of Australia’s hundreds of, what I call, ‘fine wine ambition’ producers.”
“The biggest difference between Australia and California is that in California it’s the high-end little guys who are setting the pace and the big boys try to copy them as best they can.”
Matt Kramer is an US wine critic and author. Source: www.theage.com.au
Patrick Schabers blog The Lonely Marketer was created for the small company marketing manager - it’s a excellent blog for those with great marketing ideas, limited time and budget.
Patrick had a chance encounter with a Rosenblum Vintners CuvÃ©e bottle of wine that took him outside of his marketing world to learn more about how other industries market to their unique target markets.
He wrote a post earlier in the year about his discovery of a â€œpeel-offâ€ label (he’s since learned that the correct name is a â€œWine Findâ€ label). His post drew quite a bit of attention peeking not only his interest, but the interest of many readers about how a winery markets their brand. Wanting to learn more about how wineries approach marketing, Patrick sent an email to Roseblum Cellars and Michael Kohne, their Director of Marketing, who was nice enough to respond and take the time for an interview.
Many thanks to Michael for his thorough answers and great insight into the world of wine! Here was our interview:
Michael, thank you for taking the time for an interview! I appreciate it. Iâ€™m a big fan of Rosenblum wines and have been looking forward to learning more about your marketing efforts. Without giving away all of your marketing plan strategies, could you give an overview of how you market a wine or winery for those who arenâ€™t familiar with marketing in your industry?
â€œUltimately great wine is and should be about what is in the bottle. This being said, with so many bottles available in the marketplace we marketers have to target consumers by conveying a message of quality (so those consumers choose your wine over the competitors). Wines produced domestically have certain consumer indicators like the grape variety(ies), vintage, regions, etc conveyed through print. Outside of those qualifiers producers must package the wine to evoke their message. Label shapes, fonts, images (such as a winery icon), paper stock, foiling, colors and additional text-based classifications (i.e. Reserve, Bottle Numbers, Estate Grown, etc) all help convey a story and should hopefully subconsciously market your brand.â€
From a marketing standpoint, how do you go about deciding what a wine bottle will look like and how it will appeal to its drinkers?
â€œOne has to acknowledge their target audience. Generally speaking, â€˜grocery brandsâ€™ which look to move volume at lower prices have to stand out on a shelf. These brands look for pull through design and catchy names (and animals which these days seem the rage). While a boutique brand, with a small amount of wine to sell at higher prices, tend to focus on traditional and historical aspects likening their product to some great old-world Winery and generally have a less-is-more philosophy. At Rosenblum we have products that fit both categories and we have to create a different â€œfeelâ€ for each, while at the same time creating some consistency through the whole line so as not to dilute what one can do for the other in terms of brand loyalties.â€
Can you tell us a little about the â€œwine findâ€ label on your Vintners CuvÃ©e that grabbed my attention and how you decided to implement that into your label design?
â€œWine find is a tear-off portion of a wineâ€™s back label that allows consumers to tangibly hold the wineâ€™s exact information. This perforated portion is a particular feature that benefits a winery like Rosenblum where there are multiple bottlings of the same grape but use different vineyards, blends or proprietary names. Take for example Zinfandel where Rosenblum makes 20-some-odd bottlings, the winery was at a certain point receiving calls from all over the country inquiring about somehow acquiring (whether buying direct or through a local retailer) a certain wine which consumer had had at a restaurant. Of course only remembering that it was a Zinfandel our service department was not able to pinpoint the exact wine the consumer was searching for. Now, with the â€˜wine findâ€™ feature the winery is better ensured (on a retail level) to give the consumer better service by making sure they acquire (or get information on) the exact wine theyâ€™re inquiring about.â€
Rosenblum Cellars produces over 40 different wines, including Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah varieties, to name a few. Will you be using the label for each variety or is there a certain market youâ€™re appealing to and will only place it on certain bottles?
â€œThe winery uses the â€˜wine findâ€™ technology (as it was printing technology that allowed this feature to be cost effective enough for the industry) on most all of their wines. The exception in our case pertains to our Reserves. At a certain point the consumer is savvy enough to know what he/she has purchased and if they are buying $45 to $55 bottles of wine ($100-$150 on various restaurant wine lists) then they are at the point of knowing what that wine is and have no problem communicating which wine it is that they want.â€
What do you hope to accomplish by using part of your bottle for the peel-off â€œwine findâ€ label? Are their goals and tracking methods youâ€™ve attached to the effort?
â€œThe winery feels the â€œwine-findâ€ is a general service – both for our customer as well as internally. Currently we do not track â€œwine-findâ€ instances, although we hear feedback from service and sales all the time. Of course, considering our production level (100K+ cases) my guess is that only a tiny percentage of folks have used â€œwine findâ€ although that small percentage is better than nothing!â€
Lastly, where do you see the wine bottle design going? Does the future hold more unique marketing efforts such as your label?
â€œThe question of bottle design can only be answered by individual wineries and what they want to accomplish, as well as what consumers will allow to happen (via their buying power). Synthetic closures, waxed capsules, screw caps and wine in a box are just some of the packaging choices on the horizon. Some are better than others but again only if the consumer is going to buy the product will it make producers look to change. As for Rosenblum, we are fairly progressive. We recently changed labels in an effort to organize our vast portfolio, and also use only synthetic closures to avoid any TCH issues (a mold issue from corks, commonly referred to as â€œcorkinessâ€, that taints wine). The synthetic corks we use are particularly advanced and come from a company called Nomacork, but now that is a whole other interviewâ€¦ â€œ
Interview by Patrick Schaber www.lonelymarketer.com
I deal with packaging and printing companies all the time. That’s what I do for a living. And it’s sometimes very frustrating. I set myself high standards. My clients demand even higher standards. So is it unrealistic for us to expect businesses to be perfect? Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment by expecting businesses to flawlessly deliver every single time? As customers, are we expecting perfection when perfection is unattainable? Is that fair of us?
Iâ€™m not trying to make excuses for when businesses fail us. But failure happens. No business is perfect. Yet, we seem to expect businesses to be perfect all the time. One poor encounter with a companyâ€™s customer service rep sets many of us off into a rage against that business. One misstep by a company spoils everything for many of us.
No business is perfect. NONE. Business is a game of progress, not perfection. No business will be perfect. It’s an impossibly unattainable goal. But while that goal is unattainable, the most endearing and enduring businesses seem to always aspire to reach perfection. They always make progressive steps to improve their business and how their business connects with people. Sure, they will stumble along the way. But the true measure of a company is how they recover and forge ahead making progress along the way to overcome their mistakes.
No person is perfect. NO ONE. As people we also mess up BIG-TIME. We constantly make bad decisions that harm others. We disappoint friends. We betray peopleâ€™s trust. We cannot achieve perfection. Doesn’t mean we should give up and not try. The most endearing and enduring people I know make progress every day to improve themselves and their relationships with others. And when people see progress being made, they are willing to forgive mistakes.
Thank goodness people are so forgiving. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have any friends. I’ve annoyed enough people in enough ways to not have friends. Lucky for me, people are forgiving. I still have some friends. Lost some along the way â€” but the ones I still have are great.
In GOOD TO GREAT, Jim Collins says one factor that determines which companies go from being good to being great is how they deal with adversity. He says that many of the good-to-great companies he studied faced a company-defining crisis. According to Collins, what separates the winners from the losers is how they confronted and responded to the crisis â€¦
â€œThe good-to-great companies faced just as much adversity as the comparison companies, but responded to that adversity differently. They hit the realities of their situation head-on. As a result, they emerged from adversity even stronger.”
Adapted from Brand Autopsy by johnmoore.
120km from Cape Town, in the heart of the largest wine producing region is South Africa, lays the small town of Worcester. With a population of 78,000 what they lack in numbers, they make up for in community spirit.
Worcester is the centre for the hearing and sight impaired in South Africa with several world-renown schools and institutes providing life skills training and crucial support systems.
From the world’s first Braille wine bottle to the Pioneer Printing Press, a world leader in Braille printing technology, their vision is to provide equal access to product information for all consumers, including the blind and partially sighted.
Solely for use by certified wines from the area, the classic claret-shaped bottle, in both white and red wine versions, will have, moulded into the glass in Braille script, the words â€˜100% Worcester, South Africaâ€™. Although foreign wineries like Chapoutier and local ones like Bon Cap have used Braille on their labels, this may well be the first wine bottle with such script engraved.
Consol Glass has contributed to the project by producing the bottle mould at no extra cost.
As a bonus, a percentage of the income from the sale of the wines which have been filled in the new Braille bottle will go directly to the Institute for the Blind.
By Mike Carter.
The difference between good design and great design is time.
“Great design takes A LOT OF TIME. Great design doesnâ€™t just happen. Itâ€™s the result of research, planning, and iteration after iteration. Itâ€™s not your fault you donâ€™t know that â€“ as you go through your life, you only see the finished products. You donâ€™t see the months of work that led up it”.
I believe that packaging design is this country is very reflective of South African society on the whole: one foot in an internally focused local arena but the other trying to get a toehold in a global marketplace. We are on the verge of an exciting breakthrough from behind the cobwebs of legacy thinking.
If South African designers can be blamed for one thing, itâ€™s trying to design for all sectors of our society at once. Instead, design as part of the entire marketing effort should be about acknowledging and understanding niche markets. A generalized design concept can only fool all of the people some of the time â€“ for a wine brand to resonate, it needs to speak more intimately to a subset of consumers. Never dumb down to the consumer, always make your design inspirational and give it aspirational uplift if possible.
When designing packaging for food and particularly wine one has to take into consideration a number of factors from the outset.
Firstly, the positioning of the brand, your market, your pricing and â€œwhat your five to ten year planâ€ is for the brand/wine. How many varietals or products do you intend producing, are they all going to be on the one brand, and if so how are you going to tier these wines? As a rule of thumb, packaging should be strong enough and consistent enough to have a shelf live of 5 to 7 years, with little tweaks along the way.
Fads and gimmicks do not lastâ€¦ they are exactly that. A good unique concept that is simple and based on fundamental design rules will always prevail and stand the test of time. That, combined with the world class printing technology that is now available in this country, gives us the opportunity of putting best of breed design and packaging on the world stage.
People are often jumping onto a particular â€œbrand wagonâ€ and imitating other design trends instead of initiating our own. We are too often followers instead of design drivers.
We have not yet created a strong enough South African brand identity and are still caught up in a love affair with the Big Five which has seen too many wineries embracing wildlife in their packaging, Instead of building long lasting brands, we make packaging that starts to look like products sold in curio shops.
The challenge for wine label design in this country is to create a South African identity that is sophisticated and unique as well as globally competitive . Such a design idiom would speak to the geography and history of our whole society without following the beat of a â€œhide drum.â€ In my opinion, traditional Afrocentric labels donâ€™t work.
Especially in wine, the label should tell a story about the farm or the owner. Drinking wine should be a sensual emotional experience. The reality of the marketplace is that the vast majority of consumers are not that informed about wine which means that the bulk of point of purchase decision making, assuming parity pricing, is being driven by label design and packaging. With trial accomplished and if the consumer enjoyed the wine, repeat purchase becomes a possibility leading to a continuum of brand loyalty. In an increasingly image-conscious society, wine is a social marker and thus the packaging of wine becomes an integral part of the status experience.
As we try to compete as serious players in the global market, the shelves are groaning with some good but often bad and ugly designs. I believe that there should be a greater cohesiveness between the specialist wine label designers, printers, marketing bodies and producers. This will help to create our own South African identity, improve the standard of label design and unify the industry.
On the global stage, South Africa is perceived as a sexy place, we are part of the coterie of desirable â€œnew worldâ€ wine producers and as designers we have the challenge and the responsibility of reflecting this.
By Vanessa Fogel.
Swiss based Hess Group owns four New World cellars and vineyards: in California, South Africa, Argentina and Australia. Their award winning Glen Carlou Vineyards is a 125 hectare estate situated in the heart of South Africa’s sought after Paarl Valley.
Glen Carlou offers three distinctive wine ranges, Prestige, Classic and Contemporary. Here is the Tortoise Hill White label from the Glen Carlou Contemporary range. The concept of the tortoise came from the fact that Glen Carlou’s original vineyard was in a valley known as ‘Skilpadje’ or tiny tortoise – which could have been derived from a large rocky outcrop in the shape of a tortoise shell, or from the presence of many Cape tortoises in the area. The wine itself is entry level, good quality table white, and the label echoes the rest of the Glen Carlou stable with the exception of the tortoise icon inclusion and a split in the label to inject renewed interest.
The label was created by Patrick Humphreys from Brimstone Design, and they are printed in South Africa by Collotype Paarl Labels.
To quote Cellarmaster David Finlayson: “To create wines in a uniquely South African way and being bold enough to transcend fads and fashion is the challenge. To this end we subscribe to a holistic approach: meticulous care in the vineyard combined with a personal touch in the cellar.”
By Mike Carter.
Scharffenberger Wineries wine label by Barbara Vicks Design depicts incredibly detailed visuals that convey luxury and impeccable taste.
Wine label design is almost as wide a design playing field as CD album cover design. But, its traditional roots also lend some specific cues that anyone in luxury package design can learn from.
Several details pull this design together to covey the premium message. Some details to pay attention to: