How ‘Mindful Winemaking’ taps into on-trade’s changing ethics

biodynamics, Organic, sustainability
Is now the time to highlight subtle differences? Or collectively market greener wines?

The following is an exert from a piece I wrote for The Buyer recently on the UK wine buyers buzz words of the day as we move towards a greener future for wine. Comments welcome 🙂

“Towards the end of my time in the office job, I used to sneak out for an hour a week and head to Harley Street to see a wonderful and wonderfully expensive (God bless medical insurance) psychotherapist. At the time it was about mentally patching me up enough to get back to the desk, a bit like giving a sports person a shot of painkiller, strap the leg up, and send them back on the pitch. Over my time with her it got more in depth and hugely useful, and one of the best things was a book she gave me on Mindfulness.

These days you see the word everywhere, but this was six or seven years ago and relatively new. The whole premise of it is about being more thoughtful about your day, the situations you’re in, and how you react to them. When you’re teaching yourself you end up staring at raisins for a ridiculously long time, or battling your willpower to not just scoff down a chocolate bar, instead letting it melt in your mouth and enjoying the sensations. You’re trying to engage your brain to appreciate every moment of your day, and not get down about your past, or anxious about your future. It might not work for everyone, but it did for me and I love it.

Fast forward six or seven years and I’m staring at a tasting booklet from Bibendum with “Mindful Winemaking” emblazoned upon it. It’s a bit of a worry as it’s one of the buzzwords of the day and I was sitting there slightly dubious that they were just ripping it off for the sake of it. But then, I thought, what they’re using it for makes a lot of sense…”


Is pushing wine into the digital age leaving too many behind?

Digital Media
My brilliant digi-savvy wine mates making it all look very easy!

The following is an exert from an opinion piece I wrote in The Buyer this month on those being left behind in the digital media drive in the wine trade. As ever, comments very welcome 🙂

“The ever-evolving landscape of digital media and the opportunities it offers is seemingly endless.  Whatever trade you’re in you’re always looking for, and often finding, new or improved ways of communicating with your target audience. All kinds of e-marketing strategies, pioneered by the fashion trade or the music industry, has all us wine-os drooling over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the rest.

We take pictures of bottles and share it round our mates. Will that lead to a sale or increased brand awareness?  Probably not, but right now it appears no-one gives a shit?! We’re embracing new technology and feeling like we’re a more engaging industry because of it. We’re shaking off the label of a stuffy camp of oenophiles in the salmon pink chinos and boldly telling the digital world that we’re here and here to stay.

I’m a huge admirer of guys like Paul Mabray. We don’t know each other personally. He wouldn’t know Mike Turner from Adam, put I’ve seen him ‘perform’ a few times now. He’s up there on the stage, in front of a room of winemakers and journos and showing us the endless possibilities of embracing digital marketing and the success that lies in wait for you if you just nail that online strategy. He’s also written a fabulous piece for our very own The Buyer on the joys of monitoring consumer trends and how he, rightly in my humble opinion, believes it’s the future of the wine trade.

I wrote a piece a while back about embracing the value of social media to bring international winemakers to your very own screens through Google Hangouts, or Facebook Live events. No need for those expensive and ridiculously eco-damaging long haul flights when we can sit round a nice evening dinner in London, and rustle Kiwi winemakers out of bed in the morning and ply them with questions about their 2014 Pinot vintage.

Wow, what an age we live in, all these amazing things we can do…

…but I’m afraid I might have to slap the brakes on a bit here. We’re forgetting something. Or someone. Or both…”