This Week in Wine – 12/11/11

This Week in Wine - A Recap of Wine News from Around the World

You'd have thought he would have dressed up for the photo...Wine Critic’s Representative Defends Deals

The Spain-based representative for an influential Baltimore wine reviewer defended himself Wednesday amid accusations that he asked wineries for money in exchange for a visit from the critic.

The wine world has buzzed for days over news that respected oenophile Jay Miller, former co-owner of Bin 604 in Harbor East, had resigned from The Wine Advocate after accusations that his Spanish contact had strong-armed payments from local wineries in exchange for his visits.

But Pancho Campo, president of a Spanish wine organization called The Wine Academy, told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that neither he nor Miller ever took money from a winery.

    "Jay Miller has visited almost 100 wineries in Spain, and not one winery has ever had to pay for the visit or tasting the wine," Pancho Campo told The Sun. "Never."

    The wine blog Jim’s Loire, based in London, recently reported that Campo attempted to arrange a deal whereby struggling winemakers would pay 20,000 euros, about $26,800 by current exchange rates, for a two-day visit from Miller. The blog published a series of emails between Campo and a trio of Spanish wine executives sent in early June.

    Click here for the full article.

    My Thoughts

    Maybe I’m missing something here. I just don’t see it as a big of a deal as everyone is making out. It’s long been known that money changes hands (whether it be straight cash, or advertising $’s) in exchange for reviews (and not just in the wine world)!
    I’m not saying it’s right. Not at all. It’s just a fact of the world that we live in, and I’m surprised people are so surprised!

    ...on to the next one...Australian Shiraz Wins ‘World’s Best Label’

    A small-production Australian Shiraz has earned global renown by being named the world’s best label in 2011 by the World Label Awards Association.

    The label of Alpha Crucis Shiraz 2008, produced by Chalk Hill Winery in McLaren Vale, was named best in Australia before taking on and beating the best from Europe, the US, India, Japan and New Zealand in the global final.

    The awards are recognized as the peak competition for printing and label associations around the world.

    The clean, minimal label, curved at the top, focuses on the constellation of the Southern Cross, in which Alpha Crucis is the brightest of five stars.

    Explaining the thinking behind the design, Alpha Crucis says: ‘The ellipse or partial parabolic arc over the top of the label reflects the shape of the celestial night sky, with the Southern Cross constellation identified by a dotted line as they were in star maps from the last century.

    Click here for the full article.

    My Thoughts

    Not that I want to downplay this award, but I’ve seen better wine labels, that’s for sure! I think a label that stands out on a retailer’s shelf (for the right reasons) should be more highly recognized than a relatively run-of the-mill label.

    Who? Never heard of them!Kendall-Jackson to be Featured in “Undercover Boss”

    In what is sure to be one of the most talked about episodes of the season, CBS has announced Rick Tigner, president of Kendall-Jackson Winery, will be one of the next bosses to go undercover during the upcoming third season of the two-time Emmy Award-nominated reality series, "Undercover Boss." The episode will air Sunday, Jan. 29, (8-9 p.m., ET/PT, check local listings). Kendall-Jackson is the first winery to be featured on the show.

    Click here for the full article.

    My Thoughts

    I can’t wait. It’ll be interesting to see how KJ treat their workers.

    Open Table - People don't give a shit about reservations...OpenTable Stock Has Fallen Nearly 70% Since April

    Restaurant reservation service OpenTable Inc. has experienced nearly a 70% drop in shares since hitting a record high of $115.62 in April. In addition to a sluggish economy, analysts believe the decline is due to a sudden rise in competition, including the recent U.S. launch of Freebookings—a free reservation service from Europe’s Livebookings Ltd.—and Google’s purchase of Zagat Survey LLC in September. Since the company went public in May 2009, OpenTable shares are trading at 46 times earnings (a higher valuation than 96% of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index), according to Bloomberg. OpenTable currently claims to be the leading reservation provider in the U.S., with more than 20,000 restaurant subscribers.

    Click here for the full article.

    My Thoughts

    Wow! I didn’t see this one coming! Maybe restaurants didn’t see the ROI? However; with all the new social media channels available to a business, I can see how a company like this would have a hard time staying alive. They have a great product, but need to lower their rates, and increase their social media presence if they plan on being around much longer.


    Why the Wine Trade Must Engage Consumers

    The wine trade faced up to some tough accusations last week – wine aisles are “boring”, in-store signs are a “nightmare” and “wine speak” alienates consumers. That was according to a line-up of marketing and FMCG experts from outside the industry who spoke at the first consumer forum, jointly hosted by Harpers and consumer website WineOption in London.

    Andrew Marsden, grocery marketing consultant, said wine aisles in supermarkets were “boring” with “little theatre” and “look like you’re shopping for detergent, only it’s intimidating – we’ve done exams and talk in a language consumers don’t understand”.
    “It’s unbelievably difficult to shop,” he said, adding that the trade forgets about basic selling principles, to sell the benefits, rather than features. “We sell wine by colour, country of origin and whether it has bubbles, but it causes confusion over the sheer number of products.”

    Click here for the full article.

    My Thoughts

    I slowly see the industry waking up! Whether they heed this advice or not remains to be seen!

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