After the gold rush

When I moved from Canada to New Zealand in 2001, I began working as a journalist covering the burgeoning wine industry. Those were heady times – more akin to the wild shenanigans of the Klondike than a charity auction at Hospices de Beaune. The parties, the youthful excess … it’s hard not to shed a fond tear over the memories.

Back then, the world wanted more New Zealand wine than the country could produce, so little wonder that few in the industry spent too much time worrying about their brand. Marketing in those days typically employed the Number 8 wire approach – a national “DIY” ethic that is deeply ingrained in most Kiwis. Wineries created their own logos and labels, and owners were frequently on hand to greet visitors at the cellar door. Given that the wines themselves were often astoundingly good, it’s easy to understand how appealing and authentic New Zealand wines appeared to the rest of the world.

Soon, the DIYers turned their hands to building websites – in addition to the daily demands of vineyard, winemaking, sales and distribution, and managing the business. At some point, however, a horrible realisation began to dawn: marketing needs a strategy, it needs quality content, and boy does it need constant feeding.

That’s more or less when the Global Financial Crisis reared its ugly head, along with New Zealand’s first significant surplus of wine. Oh yeah, and social media. Time to get up with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Today, a huge component of wine marketing is digital – which is why I decided to start this discussion. Small and medium-sized wineries in this country face significant challenges and constraints in their marketing efforts, and the pressure to “do it all” can sometimes feel overwhelming. I hope this blog provides a forum where good practice can be analysed and celebrated for the betterment of all.

Thank you for reading, and welcome to Vino Vitis.


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One Comment

  1. Judy Margolis
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Excellent marketing and branding advice married to a clean, clear, elegant design. Congratulations, Ruby!

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