04 Jun Dusseldorf Oudtshoorn Backsberg New York Montreal Part 2
Head’s up, this post follows on from here.
The Great South African Wine Show was next on the agenda: a two-city wine tasting tour to New York and Montreal. The tastings were put together by Wines of South Africa, the generic marketing body for South African wines abroad. WOSA has come under pressure in the past for not putting much budget behind the North American market, particularly the US. Many producers, including ourselves, think there are serious opportunities in the US and a greater spend is required. The flip-side of the coin is that you need serious budget – and I mean serious – to actually make waves, from a marketing perspective, in mainstream media. So, there is a strong argument that WOSA’s resources would be better spent elsewhere where South Africa, as a wine category, has more of a footprint. Either way, over a 100 producers made the trans-Atlantic trip to showcase their wines in New York.
The NYC tasting was held on the top floor of a 13-story building in Tribeca, a trendy downtown neighbourhood. The venue was great, and set the scene for what proved to be a good day. The first section of the tasting comprised of trade, and saw a range of media, restaurateurs, sommeliers, retailers, importers and distributors attend. I was impressed at the quality of the attendees and made a number of strong contacts. The second part of the tasting was targetted at consumers, and whilst it was not as well attended, I think it was worth it: for many consumers it was their first experience of tasting South African wines. If South Africa, as a wine category, is going to be taken seriously, this type of event is critical.
I was kept well-entertained throughout the tasting by my neighbours for the day, Adi Badenhorst and his father Andre. You can’t really beat AA Badenhorst Family wines. if you are arranging producers alphabetically. And the wines are delicious too.
From NYC, I was off to Montreal in Canada. The land of the maple leaf flag is not dissimilar to the likes of Sweden, in that the state controls the sale of alcoholic beverages. Montreal is situated in the state of Quebec, and as such, the Société des alcools du Québec or SAQ is in charge.
The tasting in Montreal took place not far from the old city area, and had a similar structure to that of NYC. There was also a lunch to kick off the day, with included a number of key members of the SAQ. Naturally, the trade section of the tasting also included many of the SAQ shop owners and wine advisers. South Africa is making good ground in Canada, and is hot on the heals of Australia in terms of wine sales.
There was a lot of postitive feedback from members of the SAQ on our wines, with the Pumphouse Shiraz 2007 going down especially well. So, I high hopes for Quebec and what we can achieve in the market.
Okay, so I have been fairly busy the last few months, with much more on the way.
The pic above is courtesy of this site.