More South African Wine Blogs

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Here are three more South African wine blogs:

  1. Galjoengat Wines
  2. Taste Matters
  3. Withington Wines

Thanks to Mark Forrester for the tip on Withington Wines.

Any more South African wine blogs out there? Email me: [email protected]

By Mike Carter.

Wine That Loves

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For consumers who aren’t interested in delving into a wine’s expressiveness or pinpointing whether a Mourvèdre’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 Loves™ because we’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 Loves™ 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, I’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 couldn’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 couldn’t. Not even at some of the best restaurants in New York! That’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:

Matt Kramer Speaks…

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“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:

Message in a Wine Bottle

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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 Cuvée 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 “peel-off” label (he’s since learned that the correct name is a “Wine Find” 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. I’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 aren’t familiar with marketing in your industry?

“Ultimately 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.”

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?

“One has to acknowledge their target audience. Generally speaking, ‘grocery brands’ 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 “feel” 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.”

Can you tell us a little about the “wine find” label on your Vintners Cuvée that grabbed my attention and how you decided to implement that into your label design?

“Wine find is a tear-off portion of a wine’s back label that allows consumers to tangibly hold the wine’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 ‘wine find’ 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 they’re inquiring about.”

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 you’re appealing to and will only place it on certain bottles?

“The winery uses the ‘wine find’ 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.”

What do you hope to accomplish by using part of your bottle for the peel-off “wine find” label? Are their goals and tracking methods you’ve attached to the effort?

“The winery feels the “wine-find” is a general service - both for our customer as well as internally. Currently we do not track “wine-find” 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 “wine find” although that small percentage is better than nothing!”

Lastly, where do you see the wine bottle design going? Does the future hold more unique marketing efforts such as your label?

“The 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 “corkiness”, 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 interview… “

Interview by Patrick Schaber

No Business is Perfect

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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?

I’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 company’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 people’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 — 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 …

“The 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.

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