GQ: go-to magazine for wine marketing

“Wine writers don’t sell wine” is the exasperated comment one wine marketer made to me last month and she is not wrong. The reason for this is that wine hacks take themselves far too seriously, don’t pay for their own rounds and fail to communicate with ordinary consumers. So when GQ magazine organized an on-line competition to win a tasting at my Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj last night with Nederburg winemaker Razvan Macici, I tagged along to observe the cutting edge of wine marketing in action.

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The competition was won by Belinda Burdett and she invited along her husband Tim (above, right) who works for Coca Cola and was a mine of information on phosphoric acid and bottling issues – a hot topic in wine these days, with the cream of Cape Town’s wine scene recently returned from a freebee to Portugal with Amorim Corkamorimcork GQ: go to magazine for wine marketing
by Amorim Cork
. Tim probably knows more about the issues than the lot of them.

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Belinda’s daughter Lauren, a marketer for Red Bull, and her fiancée Ranon Visagie (seated next to Razvan) discussed wedding venues and wines and Nederburg Cuvée Brut came up, even though it was not on the tasting of six wines Razvan presented. A tasting won by Nederburg Ingenuity Red 2011 (3 votes) closely followed by the Anchorman 2012 (2 votes) and the Motorcycle Marvel.

Made from Chenin, the Anchorman is a good example of how versatile the grape which constitutes 20% of the national vineyard is: bubbly, dry and sweet whites, wooded and unwooded, brandy and now beer as JC Steyn at Devil’s Peak Brewery in Salt River, next to GetWine, makes a crafty craft beer from Chenin and malted barley. Chenin takes the place of  imported hops as the locals are not up to scratch. Asked whether Nederburg would soon be making beer too, Razvan just smiled.

Nederburg as wedding venue makes total sense as the lifestyle brand is considered to be one of the family. Let’s just hope that the rumour to retire the Nederburg potstill brandy is simply that, a rumour, with no foundation in reality. Still, I shall be buying stock, for if Nederburg brandy disappears, it will become collectible.

The versatility of Chenin was reinforced when Ann Fraser (below, left), invited along with husband John, noted that the Anchorman 2012 was the first time she’d tasted wooded Chenin.

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Hats off to GQ for covering such an innovative event. This is the equivalent of an artist or curator taking the public on a walkabout through an exhibition. Come on, Craig Tyson (GQ ed.) what about a monthly GQ Winemaker Walkabout?

The Burdett and Fraser families are the people who buy SA wine. They go out to the winelands each weekend with the odd excursion to Olive and Port Festivals. Their best wine tourism destinations? Doolhof for John and Linton Park for Tim. Two Wellington estates you’re unlikely to see in the Great Wine Capital Award Winners that are chosen by fat luvvies and WOSA heavies.

Hats off to Nederburg for realizing that people buy wine and not hacks. Who will be the next producer to showcase their wines to real people and bring Muhammad to the Mountain? A Wine Gallery is an ideal venue to put wine fans in contact with winemakers and last night’s tasting was a huge success.

As Belinda e-mailed this morning

Hi All

I just want to thank you for an awesome evening last night with Nederburg winemaker Razvan Macici and Neil Pendock.

Everybody had a fabulous time and were soooooo chuffed with the amazing wine they could take home !!!