Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Here’s the Steak, Where’s The Sizzle?

Let’s say that you wanted to create a new international organization. A group of wine movers-and-shakers from five wine regions (California, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa) on four continents bent on getting more exposure for your wines, especially in the European Union, where New World wines are often overshadowed by continental offerings from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, probably even Slovenia.

Now, you’re living in 2009 (not 1989). What’s the first thing you do? You send out a press release and get lots of wine news websites and blogs mentioning your New World Wine Alliance. And you have all those articles link to your cool, visually rich, informative website. But....

Where’s the website? Yes, we know we’re a web-centric culture, but not having even a web page up is like not having stationary or a phone line. So at this time our conclusion is that this beast without a head is unlikely to survive, unless someone steps up to the plate and becomes the wrangler for these critters. Hey, New World Wine Alliance: Did I mention that I’ve been looking for a position in the wine industry?

UPDATE – 24 July: Or should it be: “Here’s the Sizzle, Where’s the Steak?”
A few more thoughts on the New World Wine Alliance.

Most of the international media reporting on this are saying the alliance is made up of five countries. California is not a country. The NWWA press release (we’re been unable to track down the original; here’s the version from Wines of Chile) says, “In a significant expression of unity, five competing New World wine-producing countries will be collaborating....”

The Wine Institute (“The Voice for California Wine”) has completely ignored the NWWA announcement. On Steve Heimoff’s blog, he writes: “The Wine Institute is telling [the EU] not to worry. ‘We already have a policy trade group,’ said an Institute spokesperson, who did not want to be identified.” Heimoff also quotes the anonymous Wine Institute spokesperson as saying, “This is just some marketing folks getting together to do something.”

To that comment, I’d be rather surprised. Real “marketing folks,” I’m sure, would have a better handle on, well, marketing (websites, social media, and a lot more). We can’t figure out who this is coming from. The “California” contact even has a German domain as an email address.

And the “policy trade group” mentioned, the World Wine Trade Group, has a website that appears to not have been updated in years - the last annual meeting they list was in 2007.

Finally, we feel slighted. Were we not important enough to be on the NWWA press release distribution list? Darn.

If anyone out there really knows what this group is, or how they’re marketing themselves, we’d love to hear more.