The wine industry has started to rally to the aid of Christchurch following its second devastating earthquake on 22 February.
Central Otago’s Felton Road offered their entire UK stock - that’s 85 mixed cases – below retail cost with every penny going to the earthquake’s Red Cross appeal. Within two days, they have sold out and nearly $48,000 has been raised.
Nigel Greening, owner of Felton Road, says “We are exploring whether we can source some other wine to make a second offer today, but at the moment we have no more. Our thanks go to all and apologies to those who will miss out on the wine”.
Similarly Naked Wines in the UK (which, coincidentally I blogged about last week) has joined up with New Zealand Winegrowers, and the UK importers of Villa Maria and Wither Hills, to sell a ‘lucky dip’ case of New Zealand wine for £49.99. Naked says ‘We won’t make a bean out of this. EVERY penny you spend, minus the tax, will be donated.’
And for those of you in Surrey, Rupert Pritchett of Taurus Wines is planning a wine tasting in aid of Christchurch’s earthquake victims. Presumably he’ll be showing New Zealand wines, many of which I have helped select for the list, so it should be a pleasurable way to do your bit.
Let’s not forget the winemakers of Waipara and Canterbury too. Their major local market has crumbled and they will need your custom more than ever. Lynnette Hudson, winemaker at Pegasus Bay, says, “I can only speak for us because other wineries maybe different. However the reality for the region was that Christchurch was the major city of the South Island. It is an easy market to service because of proximity and loyalty by Canterbrians to local wineries. In our case we service this market directly hence reduced costs,”
If you are doing anything in New Zealand or the UK to help out Christchurch’s earthquake victims, please leave a comment to let others know.
Calling all New Zealand and Australian winemakers that need a hand getting into the UK market.
Naked Wines wants to hear from any winemakers who have a great product but don’t have the funds to market it or winemakers who currently consult or make wine for wineries and want to start their own project.
This year, there’s a £10 million investment pot to support winemakers but they need to find you…
They’ve already helped Bill and Claudia Small, an Aussie couple making wines in NZ get their project off the ground. Naked have sold 47,000 bottles of their wine in the UK and the latest shipment sold out in just 48 hours.
Since launch in December 2008, Naked has recruited over 100,000 customers, who between them invest over £1m each month towards funding winemakers.
Corporate social responsibility is becoming one of the buzzwords that we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the wine industry.
Producers and retailers are now feeling the pressure to improve their environmental and ethical credentials, and thus help customers be greener and healthier.
With the major multiples selling eight out of every 10 bottles of wine in the UK, the grocery sector is thus expected to lead the wine industry’s adoption of corporate social responsibility.
Today, the Co-operative Group launched a three-year Ethical Operating Plan, which sets a new benchmark for other retailers. It has reduced its own operational carbon emissions by 20% since 2006, the target will now increase to 35% by 2017. In addition to a 15% weight reduction achieved in packaging, it will reduce this by a further 10% by 2012 and increase its carrier bag reduction target to 75% by 2013.
It also aims to increase its Fairtrade range as well as make its healthier option range the same price as its ‘normal’ range.
Challenges to corporate social responsibility
What difference will you make if you buy a Fairtrade wine or a lightweight bottle? Isn’t it a drop in the ocean when you consider BP’s Gulf of Mexico leak and China’s profusion of coal-fired power stations?
Producers and retailers have to make consumers think that they can make a difference buying ethically and/or environmentally. That choice must not be more expensive than a less ethical option. And customers who shop on price or promotional offer need to be given an incentive to shop ethically or environmentally, through reward points, which we have seen when reusing carrier bags.
Without consumer support, corporate social responsbility will fail before it even gets going.
£6.99 for a Kiwi Pinot Noir? Surely it can’t be done? Or, at least it can’t be done if anyone’s trying to make a living?
Yet, if you head down to your local Oddbins this week, you’ll find the 2009 Stratum Pinot Noir from Sherborne Estate in Waipara down from £10.99 to less than seven English pounds.
Back in January at New Zealand conference Pinot Noir 2010, producers argued that their Pinot Noir could not be made and sold for under a crisp tenner - unless you wanted to go out of business. You might see some of the bigger Kiwi companies like Villa Maria selling their entry level Pinot Noir at a relative snip but that’s because they’ve secured a deal from their UK distributor to take a specified amount of their higher priced wines.
John Ferris, director of sales and marketing at Villa Maria Estate, said, ‘It is a very low margin for us but if you can strike a deal on selling quantities of your upper ranges in return for cheap prices there’s huge opportunities in the sub £10 category. But it’s essential to keep your cost-of-goods down”
Many other premium producers have said sub £10 Pinot Noir is not viable for most New Zealand wineries, and they should be concentrating on the on-trade and independent sector. Yet the average price for a bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir in the UK is just under the £9-mark. Or, you can go down to Oddbins and buy a bottle for £6.99. However, things are still comparatively buoyant for New Zealand - the average price for a bottle of Chilean Pinot is around the £6-marker.