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Archive for the ‘Thoughts and feelings about wine’ Category

Champagne

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Do you really like Champagne? I mean actually genuinely like it, do you really get £30 worth of benefit out of a single bottle? And when did you last go into a wine shop and spend £30 on a bottle of still wine?

I am sure I have written before about how remarkable the marketing behind the big Champagne brands is, it should be they spend a fortune on it. However the cache that has built up around the word Champagne over the years does as much to contribute to the the fact that whenever there is something to celebrate, people blow the budget on bubbles. This historic reputation for celebration is more complex to explain, but essentially, anything that is more expensive to make, is more expensive to buy and therefore more impressive to serve- an idea that has filtered down through generations to make people who would turn green at the idea of buying a bottle of Burgundy for £30 reach straight for any bottle of fizz at the slightest whiff of an occassion, no matter what the contents of the bottle actually tastes like!

I have been considering Champagne this evening, as someone has just poured me a glass of Moet et Chandon…without wanting to sound like a wine snob…it’s awful, not helped by not being cold enough. Luckily I didn’t buy it myself! Firstly, Moet is not  a bad Champagne, just young, keep any bottle for 2-3 years and you will notice a stark contrast in quality. Secondly, as I come to drink more wine I am beginning to realise that Champagne just doesn’t do it for me that much. Of course I enjoy it from time to time, I really enjoy it if it is good- not necessarily expensive but good. But rarely, if ever have I been blown away by a glass of Champagne, unlike wine, which shocks and surprises me on a regular basis.

Of course there is the climatic pop and fizz when a bottle is opened (although any good butler will tell you that the sound should never be louder than a Duchesses fart!), then the heady moment when your mouth fills with a gently frothing foam and the bubbles rush to your head in such a way that just makes you want to misbehave…It’s all very exciting! But would it be so exciting if it were cheap?!

Asti is full of bubbles, it opens with the same satisfying pop and the physical experience of drinking it is not dissimilar, other than a bit more sweetness…but I have never seen P-Diddy or Snoop Dogg rapping about it, nor has any polo event been branded by a top Asti producer!

As festivities flirt their way into the wine trades consciousness , Champagne begins to loom. I know I will sell a large amount of Champagne over the next few weeks, lots of people will ask what I recommend- Of course I will tell them I think Lallier Grand Cru is the best, it is £25 from www.findwine.co.uk and blows the socks of anything else in it’s range- I still wouldn’t buy it for myself though just to drink.

By all means if you can afford to drink lovely Champagne followed by lovely wine then do, as much as I have criticised it, a fine glass will always bring a smile to my face. However if you are going to splash out on lash this Christmas I would highly recommend you spend your hard earned cash on some decent wine and don’t worry too much about Champagne for Champagnes sake…you could even be very brave and try some Asti, it is the best hangover sure I am yet to find!


Everyday Wine

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Everyday wine- it is a well used phrase to describe wine, something that suggests anything from £4.99 to £10, that could be anything from the most obscure German riesling to the biggest Australian Shiraz you could find. But what do people want to drink everyday?

I find myself using this mysterious phrase a lot, especially when people ask what sort of wine we sell on Findwine.co.uk- we sell everyday wine, i.e. it’s not that expensive or flash. But it says nothing about the character of the wine, should everyday wine be simply bland and functional? something to serve a purpose and nothing else? Have we got to the stage where people reach for a bottle of wine as if it were a can of coke? Something predictable and without any variation.

I reckon the the average UK consumer will reach for a bottle of wine when returning from work and spend minimal time considering what it is, where it has come from or whether they even like it or not, all that matters is that this is a drink which contains alcohol and taste slight fruity. Is this everyday wine? Should I, as a UK retailer be pandering to this market and be seeking out the most generic of wines to satisfy the needs of the many for who wine possesses no pleasure beyond a relaxant and thirst quencher.

I appreciate that the chief function of wine is to be a drink and therefore being liquidy is all that is really required of it.

However personally I think that however cheap, drinking wine should be joyous and inspirational experience and not just a function of the day, even if it is £4.99 (and if you don’t think you can be inspired or made joyous for £4.99 then let me point you in the direction of Les Trouveres red!).

Everyday wine should really be about wine that you can open, not feel guilty about what you have paid for it and feel lifted, whether it marks the end of a long day or the beginning of a celebration, wine is for pleasure and not for function. The wine is in the market place, it is up to the UK trade to educate the consumer as to what is available beyond the dull and predictable drinks that dominate the marketplace.

Everyday wine can be exciting!


Respecting Value

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Next week is the London International Wine Fair, probably the biggest gathering of the wine trade in the world. It is a forum to discuss anything and everything relevant to the wine world with anyone and everyone involved in wine world wide. As is increasingly the case, online wine conversation and online retail will surely be one of the favoured topics discussed by many at the event.

It is widely regarded that to a great extent the online world is going to play an ever increasing role in world of wine, whether it is blogs and website slowly but surely replacing the traditional newspaper wine column or whether it is companies such as my own replacing the traditional small independent high street wine merchants. There are many topics that could and should be discussed about wine moving online but there is a specific issue that I want to raise today prior to the Wine Fair next week and that is discounting wine in order to draw in customers.

Now, I am certainly not too naive to think that we can entirely do away with discounting in the wine world. It is a classic commercial incentive to draw customers to a product, I have no issue with companies giving discounts in general, it works! However as more online wine merchants spring up there is increasing need for them to vie for customers, often wanting them to sign up to their subscription so they remain locked into their website. However in return for the subscription they are offered wine at massive discounts in order to make the subscription fee seem good value.

There is a problem with this model and I am not including supermarkets in this, as they can afford to lose money on wine but make it up elsewhere in store. The problem is that the discounts that are given by these companies are often so significant that they are either majorly inflating their prices in the first place to discount them back to normal, or they are losing money on wine purchases thereby relying on the next tranche of subscriptions to pay for the previous discounts given. Unless more and more customers are added, often requiring ever increasing discounts to incentivise sign ups then it does not take long for the company to run out of money. Plus in order to retain the customers,who are paying money every month to use the website, they have to provide them with major discounts too, again eating up all of the relatively small margins that exist in the wine world. In short it is not a sustainable model and at some point it will come unstuck.

From a wider point of view there are serious implications to the wider wine world, mainly being that it is very difficult to get someone to pay full price for something once they have received massive discount elsewhere.

It is a Chateauneuf du Pape problem. It maybe because it has the word Chateau in the name but many people consider CNDP to be a single wine and therefore when they see one for £10.99 somewhere they would never want to spend £25 elsewhere for what they consider must be pretty much the same product.

For most wine is simply a drink and that is absolutely fine, a recent article that caused a stir in the wine trade demonstrated that most consumers could not differentiate between a £5 wine and a £30 wine, I don’t think that makes any difference. If people prefer £5 wine then sell them that, there is no problem there, in fact this website is entirely geared to finding good value everyday drinking wines. What is a problem is people not buying wine because it does not appear to have a discount attached.

In time this system of selling wine will devalue the wine trade into playing this game  because it will become so hard to sell wine without also providing a discount. As a small online retailer we look for wines that we believe represent good value and our customers trust that our selection and buy wine without having to be constantly pushed by a discount.


What do you want from me?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Following yesterdays blog about how I can retain and entertain my customers I have been thinking a lot about the parcel our customers receive. This is the one time there is any physical contact between Find Wine and the customer and therefore a crucial time to make and leave a lasting impression. If you have ordered from us you will know that although our boxes look perfectly nice there is nothing extra that get’s your heart racing with excitement (other than the wine of course!).

So what should we include to cement our relationship forever? A spray of my aftershave? A corkscrew with our logo on? Perhaps a grape outfit you can wear to impress your friends? Whatever it is, it needs to make you feel special, it needs to be a constant reminder of Find Wine and it can’t cost very much money!

As it happens I have had an e-commerce frenzy this week and have ordered various things from 4 very different websites. Although this may strike you as a most unusual shopping list I have good reason for buying them all… A jumper from Boden (Yorkshire is cold), Stephen Fry’s new book (for the cold dark northern nights) and The English Patient on DVD (a gift) from Amazon, A large black pudding from the best black pudding producer in the world Charles Macleod in Stornaway (Breakfast) and 3 small glasses with pheasants on them for 99p from Ebay (a long story!).

Rather sadly, this week I have been most excited, not by my new things but by the way in which they arrive on my doorstep. Plus for the purposes of this experiment I am counting myself as being typical, in that I pay very little attention to anything in the box other than what I have ordered.

In every case there was some additional flimflam in the parcel (other than the ebay purchase but that is different!) and I didn’t really bother to read any of it never mind keep it as a memento of my purchase. Boden even inserted something offering me money off my next order. This is great but why do I need to keep a piece of paper when I can do exactly what I did this time and go to some voucher codes website to download a 15% discount. The black pudding butcher inserted a brochure of his products which consisted of black pudding, white pudding or both of the above gift wrapped. Other than providing me with an amusing thing to send someone this Christmas it was of no use and therefore entered the bin at some speed. And I can’t even remember what Amazon provided but I didn’t look at it.

Maybe I am not typical of an online shopper and therefore no use to this discussion. However I know I would be so impressed and excited if I received a genuinely original and useful freebie that I would remember the company forever. But what is the perfect freebie, should it be fun? Functional? An incentive? Or just thought provoking? (well the Chinese have already done this with their cookies!)

Packaging is very important, I have seen things arrive (not for me) from Net- a- porter and they are fantastic, I totally get if you’re are spending a lot of money you want the parcel to make you feel important when it arrives.

But I feel wine boxes should be functional. I would love to send everything in wooden flat boxes but there is a slight cost implication there. And a cardboard box can only be so exciting, even with cool graphics on the side. Therefore it should the the inside that you remember.

My aim is to create the same child like excitement that Charlie (of chocolate factory fame) felt when opening his Wonker bar with the golden ticket inside. I want receiving the insert to be as exciting as receiving the wine itself and different every time!

Unfortunately on this rather rainy Tuesday evening I have not yet thought of the answer…but I will and the next time you take delivery of some of wine you will most likely pour the wine down the drain and keep whatever gift we have given you.

If anyone makes a brilliant suggestion that I simply cannot ignore, I will give you a case of wine.


What can we give you?

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I was having a chat with a friend over lunch today about the relationship companies have with their customers, especially online companies.

It is very difficult to go anywhere or do anything within having some request for money put on you. Whether it is a simple as getting on the bus or reading a magazine there is always someone demanding money for something, the fare, the flashy adverts tempting you to buy a suit that makes everyone want to sleep with you. Everybody wants money from you but how often do you really get something back from them, well beyond whatever it is you have paid for?!

The internet is funny in the vast majority of things you probably use online never ask you for money. It has got to the point where, apart from shopping online the vast majority of people feel upset if they are ask to pay for a service, even if it is as simple as being forced to see an advert where before there were none. You just have to read about the storm that was created by users when Twitter unveiled plans to include advert tweets in their feeds. The internet is the fastest commercial advancement to have ever happened to mankind, yet so much of it remains uncommercial.

This is where I find online wine sales very interesting. Selling wine online is difficult to say the least. This is purely speculation but I suspect the majority of people buying wine online do it for convenience and price comparison( Majestic, Virgin etc). Then there are a lot of people looking for specific wines they cannot find in their local merchants (Berry Bros, Great Western Wine and any other high end merchant). Then, there are the much smaller group who are purely looking for a new experience either in where they shop or what they drink (this is my category). These people may have heard about our website or stumbled across it, either way something about the way it works has appealed to them and the have chosen to part with not insignificant amounts of money in order to experience the full journey on it.

When they receive the wine they enjoy it but don’t drink anything they simply must drink everyday. Therefore why on earth would they decide to try again? They may receive an email from me once a week suggesting they buy something else but then they receive an email from 5 wines websites asking to use them!

In order to make sure that customer will use you every time they get thirsty they must feel part of the company, part of every decision made, they need to know that I care about them more than I care about my own dog and yet I must convey all of this digitally…wrap them in a cosy blanket of text, pictures and videos, engage them in flirty pillow talk every night so they dream about nothing other than their next order and who else they can tell about this great new website they have found!

I can’t afford just to take peoples money, it is too easy for them to leave me forever. I have to make sure I always give something back, I think that is the key to the internet. Whatever activity you engage with from retailing to blogging your audience can so easily go elsewhere so ensure they couldn’t be happier than in your company.

The tough bit is, how to do this! I am working on that bit!


I drink riesling therefore I am very sophisticated

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Certain grapes seem to say a lot about the drinker. But one grape more than others at the moment seems to be making a lot of noise and as far as I can tell it is with a certain drinker and that is riesling.

Riesling is as fantastically contrasting as it can be complex. One of the worlds truly inspirational and exceptional grape varieties. I love the stuff as do many many people. It is by no means a newcomer to the wine scene however it does seem to be growing in popularity and fame. I would hope this is because the consumer is becoming bored of dull wine flavours that have mass produced in their direction and are seeking out new and interesting flavours from their wine.

There seems to be quite a specific Riesling following emerging. For whatever reason this little grape attracts some very deep discussion. It is definitely a grape favoured by the philosophical side of winos. So why has this wine, which must be one of the oldest and most traditional varietals attained such a deep and classical following with entire blogs dedicated to it.

I love the attitude of so many Riesling drinkers, who somehow think they are onto something new and that nobody regarded Riesling as anything special until they made it cool again.

No matter, it is certainly worthy of such dedicated following as it is wonderful. If you want to check out two complete contrast in the riesling world have a look at Gapstead Riesling and also Hamm Riesling both for sale on our buying page. They are worlds apart but both glorious in their own right.

Whatever the pull of Riesling it is certainly growing and the more sites dedicated to it the better!


Tuscan Wine….Tipicita anyone?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

This blog was very kindly written for us by Chris from Sant Alberto. Check them out here

For me some of the most rewarding wines in Tuscany cost between €10 and €20 and have Sangiovese at their heart. However since our own oenological journey began in 2006 we have discovered Gamay, Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay are all weapons in the Tuscan armoury. Almost a new world flavour but with an old world rule book?!

However it appears that the Tuscans have always been struggling to retain their tipicita (typicality), Nicolas Belfrage MW writes that even in the 19th century the province of Florence had an estimated 150 varieties in the vineyards. We understand why they all felt the need to plant international varieties as the French marched on through the 1960s and 1970s. Meanwhile the Italians were still in the grips of the mezzadria (sharecropping) and the preferred sale into a cooperative.

Merlot is a grape with which we are particularly familiar and it is more widely used across Tuscany than anywhere else in Italy. As an illustrative example one of our favourite nearby estates in Tuscany makes a smooth, 100% Merlot IGT at €40 a bottle ex cellar. Whilst it is unquestionably quality fruit and very well made, my question would be does it warrant a place in your cellar? The same estate’s Chianti Classico Reserva is stunning and is half the price. We of course understand the role that Merlot can play in softening Sangiovese and can make it more approachable in its youth. We often blend a touch of Merlot in our fruity Sangiovese whilst others blend the native Canaiolo for the same desired effect.

Without question our Cabernet and Merlot are very content gorging on the Tuscan galestro soil and climate, and have clearly benefited from a more recent “site selection”, modern vineyard training methods and the judicious use of French barriques. The resulting IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines are a fruity, powerful blend and provide the perfect complement to barbeques, red meats and pecorino cheese.

I am certainly not attempting to make sense of the IGT vs. DOCG status as I will leave that to those more qualified than me. But even if consumers are aware of the IGT marque, what style of wine do they expect to receive in their bottle? Are they presuming it will be made with more care? A Bordeaux grape variety? Aged with new oak or just more expensive than the traditional wines? There is no consistency and one has to rely on firsthand knowledge of the vineyard and an understanding of which wine style you prefer as the sommelier hovers over you on that first date. The blended wines absolutely have their place and can bring a touch of Tuscany to a wider drinking audience but does it make understanding Tuscan wines easier?


Turn off you’re phone and speak to the good wine

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

A few weeks ago I spent a some time in Umbria, it was purely for pleasure and minimal work was involved, in fact the most taxing part of the day was playing chess with one of my brothers. The entire week was punctuated with exceptional and vast meals which cost very little.

I was going to write an entire post about Italy and the importance of food and wine there, which I feel the UK lacks sometimes. I might return to this topic once I have given it a little more thought, however for the time being I will just leave you with this photo of a sign that hangs in a tree outside a fantastic little bar in a beautiful medieval village called Monterchi.

If you are ever in the area please visit, you will be so well looked after and probably never want to leave.


Spirits VS. Wine- How they sell themselves

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Last week on a muggy Tuesday afternoon in London I trundled along to a drinks industry event called Imbibe at Earls Court. It was primarily for the on trade and not necessarily geared towards what I do but there were a few wine stands there that I wanted to check out, plus I had been invited to the Pol Roger after party so thought it was worthwhile popping in to see what it was all about.

Whereas most wine events are primarily about wine (surprisingly!) it was great to attend an event that also had a large representation from spirits and beer brands and instead of the usual wine buyers this had a large showing of young bar and restaurant staff seeking out knowledge of the products they work with everyday. It certainly created a different atmosphere, helped by the stage in the centre of the room which had a constant stream of the bar worlds top people competing in everything from mixing drinks to quizzes about everything alcoholic.

I met up with a few people and I tried some great wine but there was something far more important that got me thinking. Why are so many wines so boring?

Just to make it clear, this is nothing to do with the way wine tastes, as I said I tried some great wine but this is more to do with the way the wine industry sells it’s product and Imbibe made it very clear.

For those of you that haven’t attended a wine event, I will attempt to paint a picture of how it normally works. The typical wine stand will consist of a table, a table cloth, some wine obviously and a team of people standing behind it pouring and answering very dull questions, if you’re lucky there will be a plate of water biscuits and if they are going to town there will be a large map of the country they primarily sell wine from. Now, this serves a purpose, clearly the primary function of attending a wine show is to display wines and allow the people who could buy them a chance to taste them and pass judgement. And I guess it works but why can’t it be a little more entertaining?!

The interesting thing about Imbibe was being very easily able to see the contrast between wine and spirits and the way in which they sell themselves and this links back to branding. Take Martell Cognac, who had a stand at Imbibe last week. They had a large range available to taste and they had exactly the same floor space as many of the wine guys. However instead of simply lining their drinks up on a table and providing men in suits to answer questions they had built a beautiful oak panelled room complete with large leather wingback chairs, a fire and cabinets of drinks from which pour samples. Now as is my usual failing I didn’t take a photo and it may be that some of those details aren’t exactly correct, however that is the impression that has been etched in my mind and now every time I think of Martell, I will most likely picture that civilised and sophisticated stand.

So why can’t the wine boy’s play this game? Perhaps some would argue cost, perhaps some argue that actually the taste is far more important than the brand. However I don’t buy either of these arguments. Firstly, yes these stands can be expensive and there is not as much marketing budget in wine as in spirits. But you can create an exciting and innovative concept without having to spend a great deal and anyway many of the wine stands were probably just as expensive without the creativity. Secondly, yes of course the way the wines tastes is important but why can’t that go hand in hand with a strong image.

Without looking through my notes I can remember 3 wines I tried and that was because they were exceptional, however I could only tell you who sold two of those wines and that is only because I already buy wine from that company. I probably tried 50 wines, most were fine, all were forgettable as were the people selling them. Yet I can describe in detail a whole host of the spirits companies, even some that i didn’t even taste.

I am a great believer that drinking is often about the whole experience. Sometimes the cheapest, most agricultural of wines can taste incredible if you are drinking them with lots of friends over a delicious meal in a Tuscan farmhouse. So why when selling wines at an event in a slightly sweaty room in London do companies not sell their customers that experience, give them something to identify with as they will be the people who will then go on and sell that story to their customers.

If you can get a customer excited about the product without actually trying anything and assuming the wine doesn’t taste of vinegar and doesn’t cost a fortune it should be easy.

I maybe terribly predictable but I am more likely to spend money whilst sitting in a leather armchair than whilst I am looking at a plastic map and talking to a dull sweaty man with a typed price list. So if you want my business go and build a stand that either looks like a gentlemen’s club or a spaceship and tattoo your prices onto midgets…at least i won’t forget you in a hurry!

MH


Champagne, Horses and Branding.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

On Saturday my sleepy rural village was perked up a bit by my brother and a group of friends visiting from London for a trip to York races. Everyone arrived on Saturday morning, and an eclectic team we were too. A wine merchant (me) two ship brokers (my brother Richard and his friend Tom), an architect (only known as Pinup), a physiotherapist (Rachel, my brothers girlfriend) and an SAS officer (who I can’t name, but let’s call him Nick Vickers).

The day started with a large brunch and plenty of fantastic Alma 4 sparkling wine (for sale from www.findwine.co.uk). And then we were off, out of the gates briskly and heading for the first bend..aka the car journey into York.

After a long and joyful queue into the city we arrived in glorious sunshine with throngs of questionably supported, faked tanned northern beauties ready to spend their winnings on weak Pimms and warm champagne and have a bloody good time doing it.

Now, I could write a lengthy and detailed account of the horses, the racegoers and the series of events that led to Cliff wearing lipstick however I want to raise a bigger question. And that is the question of champagne!

Why is it that as soon as we won a whack of cash we went straight to the bar and bought a drink that cost 10 times that of anything else, why is it that the ill supported, faked tanned lovelies make a beeline for the bright orange umbrellas of Vevue Cliquot and how is it that the majority of them could barely name a handful of wine producers, has probably never spent more than £8 for a bottle but every single one knows exactly what that orange livery means and is happy to part with more than £40 to be seen drinking a bottle. And that is an important difference; are they drinking it because they like it or because they want to be seen with it?

I am as guilty as the next person, I know I don’t love Vevue that much, yet with a pocket full of winnings, I am still drawn in by an orange umbrella and the next thing I know I have a bottle in my hand.

The power of champagne brands intrigue me because in a region where there are still many many producers, in fact in a world where there are thousands of people making wine with bubbles in why can a handful of firms have such power over people. These handful have a special power however even the word champagne can evoke irrational spending. You may never have heard of it, you will never have tasted it but if it says Champagne on the label you are willing to pay more than you would ever dream of spending on 750ml of liquid. In many respects it is the ultimate in making someone feel special and this is a reputation that has developed over many years and with countless amounts of money spent by Champagne houses on associations with the right events.

But why can’t other regional specific wines with bubbles create the same effect. Sure, currently Prosseco has a certain amount of sway. Bizarrely, I still hear people recommend Prossceo to friends as if they have made the discovery of the century, telling all their mates that they much prefer it to Champagne and it is SUCH good value!

What fascinates me is that there are many, many Prosseco producers out there but for the purposes of most recommendations the drink is clubbed together as being one thing. The Brand Prosecco completely outweighs that of any of the producers.

This is the same case with grapes like Sauvignon, Shiraz, the ultimate grape brand, Pinot Grigio! And at long last this is my point! Why can so few people identify only a handful of wine producers when they spend a great deal of their disposable income on drinking the stuff.

This may come across as suggesting that I think the majority of the British public should be more educated about wine and more involved in their choice. However, I actually believe the complete opposite. What could be more confusing than realising that you really like Shiraz from Australia only to pick one up from New Zealand and find it tastes completely different. Or even to pick a Prosecco because you have once had a good one only to find this one is completely different and actually pretty disgusting. Due to the nature of wine making it is impossible to settle on a grape as if it is a brand name.

With Champagne however you might pick up one you have never tried, it might taste worse than what you have had before, it might taste far better. But despite either of those things you will feel bloody great drinking it because it makes you feel special, exclusive, rich for a moment, sophisticated. And that is what a brand should do, it has to make you think that by being associated with it you are saying something about yourself. Then Champagne goes one step further by having a handful of producers so powerful they make you think you are the badgers nadgers by even mentioning the names. Moet, Vevue, Pol, Bollinger. Not only names most people identify with but colours, events, sports.

Champagne does for you the same as owning an Rolex, driving a Range Rover or wearing a Savile Row suit and from that point of view Champagne is actually very good value. You can show the world just how great you are and get a kick out of it for around £30 and that is a very special product.

The big question is, why can’t the rest of the wine world do something similar but for a lower price. Champagne proves wine has the ingredients create this. Of course there are some strong brands out there, Jacobs Creek, Rosemount, Casillero Del Diablo. These products sell in vast quantities because they are a safe bet and serve a purpose but I wander how often someone brings a bottle to a dinner party or recommends one to a friend as something they love drinking. Surely very few aspire to be drinking Jacobs Creek.

My view is that the majority of consumers associate even the slightest knowledge of wine as being sophisticated and therefore when someone really wants to impress they try their hardest to seek out an unknown gem, to find something that will make their friends sit up and think “Wow, Geoff must be great in bed because he has bought something called a Spatlese to dinner and I have never heard of that!”

At the end of the day Champagne is a very attainable aspiration in that you don’t actually have to be wealthy to enjoy a bottle in front of 40,000 racegoers every now and then, especially if you back the 8:1 winner in the 3.05.

But this argument is not just about aspiration in the traditional sense. Not all branding is about making you look wealthy but it has to identify something with a product, whether that is quirkiness, intelligence or being a Goth you are aspiring to something by making that association with yourself.

As far as I can think I can’t come up with a wine brand outside of Champagne that has achieved this, maybe something like Faustino Rioja, although it is definitely dated now, maybe D’arenberg but it is still quite specialist, possibly Cloudy Bay but it is more money than most would spent.

Is it even possible to create that special feeling when you are only spending a fiver? I think it is if you can make someone enjoy spending that fiver. And so instead of trying to create a wine brand perhaps the secret is to create a magic in the buying process so however much they spend or whatever they buy they feel great because they have bought it from a shot/website that impresses, intrigues or informs their peers.

Clearly if I can tap into that magic then I am onto a winner!

I am quite sure that many will completely disagree with some of this post, I would love to hear your comments. I have no particularly strong feelings but more of an intrigue about how people think.

Please do let me know beneath.

MH