Wine in a hierarchy of needs

American psychologist Abe Maslow may have been dead for over 40 years, but his hierarchy of needs, “a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization” (Wikipedia) still applies. Abe stressed the importance of focusing on positive qualities in people, rather than treating them as a “bag of symptoms.”

So it makes sense that when Mark Norrish (below), marketing maven at UltraLiquors [a progressive wine outlet that has the excellent good taste to list my Lemoenfontein Pinotage 2009 in their branches in Greenpoint (for Chris), Wynberg (for Tim) and Parow (for Jack)] decided to move his ground breaking 100 Women, 100 Wines competition up north, he chose the Maslow Hotel in Sandton. And not because it’s where Julius Malema hangs out.  Even if Malema @ Maslow has a catchy ring to it and Juju has more needs than most.

mn 615x614 Wine in a hierarchy of needs

But on Friday, Juju will be as welcome at the Maslow as he is at an ANC National Conference. For its XX chromosomes only as 100 lucky ladies take on 280 wines to choose 100 winners, in categories:

Girls night out
Winter warmers
Best braai wines
Ultra special
Summer sipping
Pasta party
Working week
Romance in a glass
Long lunch

rather than the ridiculously abstract notion of scoring a wine out of 20/100/five stars/take your pick.  This is one USP that gives the competition gravitas.  The other is using the opinions and taste buds of ordinary people rather than the dairy of sacred cows employed at the moment.  Since over 70% of all wines sold in SA are bought by women, relying on the fair sex makes sense. And doing it in Jo’burg, where most of the stuff is shifted, makes sense too.

The two most important factors in selling wine are a recommendation from a friend or a winning sticker on a bottle.This competition combines both, so hats off to Mark for thinking outside the 5-litre bag-in-a-box.