Monday, May 28, 2012

Endorsement of products – Antipodes

I have never endorsed (for reward, direct or indirect) a wine or winemaker; I have endorsed Riedel glassware, on the basis that I had been using limited amounts of Riedel glassware since 1969, beautiful, long-stemmed, small bowl sweet wine glasses, and Coopers Ale, its green label my perennial favourite beer. For the last endorsement (‘the winemaker’s beer’) Ian McKenzie and I were to receive a dozen bottles of Coopers each year, but it wasn’t too long before the deal mysteriously disappeared. Now there is Antipodes, a product that I have always thought the ultimate sparkling water to be served at any meal where wine is on the table. It has that magic balance between still water and fully sparkling, yet retains the prickle on the tongue for as long as you challenge it to do so. (It is also available without gas.) It does strike me as truly strange that we should import mineral water, sparkling or still, all the way from Italy and France (amongst other countries). Transport across the ditch is a very different thing to transport from Europe. And then there is Evian, which runs a distant second to Sydney tap water.

Wine Intelligence Business Awards

Wine Intelligence is the foremost market research business in the world, operating in 20 countries.  With its senior management split between the UK and Australia, it is able to cover the three major spheres fitting within its global business: first, Europe (including, of course, the UK); the Americas, North and South; and Australasia, in this context embracing China and Greater Asia, Australia and (as an outlier that is geographically a one-off) South Africa.

Its recent analyses of the Asian markets have been especially interesting, picking up trends the moment they emerge – thus a growing awareness and interest in white wines, and sweet red wines, in China.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of Wine Intelligence, it has instituted business awards to be presented around the world over this year.  Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa, was the first recipient; more recently awards were given to wine journalist Tim Atkin, MW, and Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg.

In typical form Chester Osborn joked in his acceptance speech ‘I can’t believe I have won this award...I have never worked a day in my life, I am still making mudpies – there’s the same ingredients water, soil, sun makes grapes as well – so I think it is fantastic that I’ve won an award for still being a big kid.’

Tim Atkin’s award marked his ‘willingess to challenge conventional wisdom whilst remaining the consummate wine professional’ admired by the world-over.  He responded by saying, ‘I have been lucky to win a lot of awards in my life, but this one means the most to me because it is from people who are my peers and colleagues.’

He also continued a theme that he has been hammering for some time now in the fortnightly UK trade magazine, Off Licence News, by saying ‘ saddens me slightly that we have lost a bit of excitement [about wine] in this country. We have still got some great wine professionals, and I hope some reasonably good wine journalists – let’s put the UK back in the centre of the wine world, not in the margins.’