What do consumers really want to drink?
Tuesday 25 August
Are we guilty of not listening to the consumer? Probably, yes. Working in the wine trade every day does tend to take over your life – it’s not just a job – you drink, sleep, breathe the stuff. Inevitably that tends to mean we are removed from the wine-buying public. No matter how many Wine Intelligence studies or in-house market research we read, can we really remember how we felt about buying wine or what we were drinking before we got into the trade? Tricky, isn’t it?
In my last blog, I praised London restaurant L’Anima for putting its wine list in the hands of the twittering public. Great publicity and a great way to involve your customers.
Days later, I’m interviewing Naked Wines boss Rowan Gormley who has come up with the genius (albeit brave) idea of getting his customers to choose the wine. He’s already got his customers, affectionately known as ‘angels’ to do this back in June and aims to do it again in the autumn.
The price of getting Naked
As I explained in my article on decanter.com, Naked will stump up US$100,000 on wine at this year’s Wines of Argentina trade tasting and do the same at Wines of South Africa’s tasting in October.
He’s asking fifty of his ‘most active’ customers to attend the London event. They’ll taste 100 wines and select 10 for the list.
Customer empowerment goes further…the angels then state a price they would be prepared to pay for the selected wines against the prices set by the wineries. The wineries are online – or at the tasting – and see the price comparisons and are able to adjust their prices if they wish. If the customers don’t believe the wine is worth as much as the producer does, the producer can then reduce its price to secure a larger order – or not.
Gormley believes enfranchising the customer is all-important. ‘We have tasted with consumers and if you say Robert Parker has given it this mark or this critic said this it doesn’t mean much but the most powerful view is fellow consumers.’
Is there anybody out there?
Only 50 wines have been submitted by the Argentineans thus far and Gormley expressed surprise and disappointment the response had been lacklustre when there’s such a decent prize at stake. Come on senors and senoritas, get your Argentinean fingers out.