Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Sydney soirée - speech to growers plus photos

Here is the speech given on Alastair Marshall’s behalf at Charles and Philippa Sydney's soirée at the Brasserie du Théâtre, Angers on Tuesday (2.2.10). Alastair (Adnam's chief buyer) was absent due to last minute illness. Charles and Philippa have been working as courtiers in the Loire since 1988/89. Hitherto they have concentrated on the UK but are now branching out and looking to flood India with Loire wines.

Attentive audience of growers, buyers and journalists

Here are the bullet points:

Sustainability - making the sales relationship last
Customers will want to know that you are making efforts to reduce your C02 emmisions.
Can you bottles be lighter?
Cartons - are they made of re-cycled material.
Do your clients know how many cases you can get on a palette? Do they order 600 bots when the could take 660 at a time?

Make sure you keep your clients informed and open as many lines of communication as possible. In the future only those who make extra efforts will survive the hard times yet to come - financial rising costs, anti alcohol, promiscuous clients - always being tempted away by deals, unhelpful government legislation etc..

Christophe Gadais pours himself a glass of his 2009 Muscadet.
Is he smiling because of the quality of the wine or is it due to his tie?

Quality - This is a given since you are sitting in this room
Fair price - This is a given since Charles will soon tell you if you are not realistic.

The aim is to shorten the distance between the consumer and you the producer and in this way you will build loyalty and long-term sales.

To do this you must use the new technologies.
You must :
Have a web site - a good one, with information and pictures that change. You need a photo library which your clients have access to and can download pics for their promotional and publicity needs. See the site of Hugel in Alsace where you get a live webcast of the harvest. Make mini 2 minute videos of you, your family, your new tractor, your vineyard, the harvest etc and post them for anybody to look at.

e-mail - build up an e-mail database of clients & friends and send them regular newsletters with links through to your web-site

Facebook - set up a page and reach out to your customers. Tell the story of what is going on chez vous on an almost daily basis. When facebook is no longer fashionable move on to the next focus of communication.

Twitter - Sign up get twittering. Carry on conversations with wine lovers all over the world, tell them what you are doing i.e. Just had boudin noir with Montlouis demi-sec from a friend and it was a great match - My wife just ran off with an Englishman, that'll teach her! etc.. bavardez!
This does not cost you much money but it will cost time and effort. Perfect tasks for the children of the family, let them have a voice in the business.

Tell the world that you are great everyday of the week and soon they will accept it and you will reap the reward.

Loic Cailbourdin jnr demonstrates that the shirt can be the message as well as showing off the lining of his new jacket

Jim's comment
Alastair rightly highlights taking advantage of new technologies and social media. I would be inclined to go for both a website and a blog. I would treat the website more like a book, so including the estate's history, its geography, way of working, wines, etc. All things that don't change that rapidly. Then use the blog, which is easy to update, for your day to day commentary. All the time making sure you are linking the blog back into your website.

Certainly worth having a presence on Facebook and possibly twatter – still much less convinced about the latter. My priority would be to get the website and the blog right.

Christophe Surget, Couly-Dutheil's export manager, opts for the 'cuvée tradition' while David Furer (freelance US journalist) opts for the visionary look – possibly well to the left of Rudolf Steiner!

Group on first floor of the brasserie: including on the left André Vatan (Sancerre) – much easier to locate in Angers than in Verdigny; right: Christophe Baudry, l'eminent maire de Cravant-les-Coteaux, et Jean-Martin Dutour (aussi Baudry-Dutour)



Susan said...

Very pertinent for us just now starting a new business and relevant for any business, not just the wine industry.

I agree that a good website is the number one priority. A good website is one that has intuitive functionality for the user, not one that shows off how many wizzy software packages the designer can use. My three pet hates on websites (and French websites are particularly prone to these things) - 1. a pointless page which invites you to click somewhere to enter the website (what a waste of time, what's wrong with opening directly on a home page?); 2. Flash websites with shifting boxes and images that fade in and out or scroll; 3. sound effects or music over everything (the music is generally ghastly and sound should be restricted to videos).

Jim's Loire said...

I agree Susan. Simple is often best with pages that load quickly and with clear navigation that works.