Posts Filed Under wine industry events
Frequent 1WD readers know that I get a bit, er, cantankerous when I notice long-standing wine industry types make wildly speculative – or even downright inaccurate – claims about how the wine industry functions, without citing any data in support of their crap claims.
This happens (just a guesstimate) roughly every seven minutes or so (many bloggers succumb to this as well, so I’m not picking on any particular kind of medium here).
In a small attempt to help bring the smack-down on such rampant speculative behaviour by those who ought to know better, during my recent stint at Wineries & Breweries Unlimited 2014 in Richmond I decided to sit in on a (not-surprisingly somewhat poorly attended) session where real data were presented.
“Emerging Trends within Beverage Alcohol” was a presentation highlighting what’s actually happening in the wine world right now, from a consumer perspective, and was given by Nielsen’s Elizabeth Crews (Vice President/Analytic Lead for Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area), based on a combination of information collected at retail scans, via consumer panels, and through actual account data. It’s probably not perfect, but it’s also probably as close to perfect as we’re going to get when it comes to consumer trends in wine in the U.S.
Here are my notes on the session, sans commentary, and based on the data presented (I’m paraphrasing, which will piss off some people I’m sure, but it’s because I don’t have access yet to the actual numbers that were shown; if I can get them, and/or the presentation itself, I’ll post them here). Bottom lines: if you think Millennials and GenX aren’t key to the future of fine wine sales, you’re probably wrong; if you think beer and other adult beverages won’t come gunning for wine drinkers in terms of media spend, you’re also probably wrong; if you think expensive fine wine has no real market after the recession, you’re… wait for it… wrong; if you think blends can’t be popular because they’re not taking advantage of the brand recognition of well-known grape varieties, you’re also, maybe… wrong; and if you think Malbec is dead in the wine sales water, you’re very wrong.
My aim here is posting this is largely selfish, in that I strongly suspect that I’ll be linking back to this post incessantly when commenting on other websites, to deliver smack-downs on the under-supported speculation that seems rampant online and in Op-Ed pieces right now. And yes, I realize those efforts are totally Sisyphusian, but I just can’t help myself…
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After I announced that I’d be sitting on the “Meet the Bloggers” panel at Wineries & Breweries Unlimited 2014 in Richmond with Fredric Koeppel and David White, a few (dozen) of you asked me (mostly privately) if the session would be recorded. Thanks to some help from the friendly Nomacorc folks, here is the panel, all just-about-one-hour of the thing.
Fredric, David and I took questions from moderator Tina Caputo, editor of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, during which we discussed the importance of blogs to the wine industry, waxed pseudo-philosophic about the leveling of the brand awareness playing fields provided by social media, and relayed how we think wine brands can best approach wine bloggers to get them to tell their stories. Fredric was pointedly and intelligently acerbic (and wore his shades), David was soft-spoken and articulate, and I was my normal spastic self.
There’s not much more to tell you about the event, unless you’re in the market for barrel cleaners, tasting room signs, wine business loans and legal services, tractors, or steel tanks. But I had a great time meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and offering a bit of (somewhat toned down… hey, it was a friendly crowd, alright?) tough luv for the local wineries and media types who attended our little blogging panel session.
Ok, start watching, already!
1WineDudeTV Episode 60: How Wine Brands Can Get Blogs to Tell their Stories
On Sunday, March 30, I’ll be participating in what has become the U.S.’s largest wine and food event focused on a single region, Taste Washington at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
Those wishing to heckle me will find this one of the better opportunities afforded them in recent memory.
I’ll be a media guest at the Seattle event, taking part in a seminar at 11:30am titled “Washington vs. The World-2014.” I, Master Sommelier Emily Wines and winemakers Chris Gorman, Matt Reynvaan, Kendall Mix, Chris Camarda and Scott Greer will be pitting WA state wines against what is being billed as some world’s best juice. I feel compelled to point out that our session is 88.88% more expensive than every other wine education seminar being held over the course of the Taste WA weekend, from which I can only logically conclude that my fellow panelists are just 89% (rounded) more bad-ass than all of the other panelists on the program.
How will Washington’s wines fare against some of the selected international and domestic contenders? I’ve no idea, but I fully expect the panel to be entertaining (I’ll try not to drag the I.Q. of the group too far down)…
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By now, many of you will have heard that 2014’s incarnation of Premiere Napa Valley, the annual Napa Valley Vintners fundraiser auction, broke records and brought in a haul to NVV that I think is best described as a sh*t-ton of money, times three (I had dinner with a couple of nice folks from NVV after the weekend of the event, and their collective mood could be summarized as something between kid-at-the-Crayola-factory elation and exhausted relief). PNV14’s auction of rare, small-lot Napa Valley wine rarities amassed nearly $6 million, with Scarecrow’s lot bringing in something to the tune of $4K per bottle.
I’ve covered PNV, on and off, for several years here on 1WD, and for 2014’s recap I’ve decided to play the tune again, which has a catchy-but-getting-too-damned-familiar-like-Call-Me-Maybe melody to it at this point, but with a different tempo and some funky rhythm section time signature changes, to try to keep things feeling a little fresher.
As usual, I did not taste all of the auction lots at PNV, because that is an endeavor that I view as somewhat insane, like NHL hockey goaltending (seriously… they need to be a little not-quite-altogether to volunteer for that job… just sayin’…). However, between two days of preview parties and barrel auction tasting, I did manage to sample more PNV lots than I ever have in past years. Ironically, this has made me decide to refrain from listing all of the lots I tasted with their respective ratings, and instead talk about only the lots that really moved me in some way. No ratings, no badges, just praise. It’s a “Best Of” PNV14, if you will, only with me acting as the sole arbiter of what constitutes “best” in this case (hey, it is my blog, after all).
But first, a few words on Napa’s 2012 vintage, which was on strong (arguably the strongest possible, given the pedigree) showcase at PNV14…
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