Take gun. Aim at feet. Pull trigger.

Seriously, people, do I really need to be saying this?

Before you go and speak about your wine, your vintage, your region, your world, please consider a couple of things:

1. Have a story, and make sure your voice, and whatever it is you have to say is reflective of that story.

2. You do not speak for everyone in a region. Make that clear.

3. You have not done vintage with everyone, so you do not know what may or may not be helping in another block/winery/vineyard.

4. Bear in mind your audience – are you talking to wine people, or drinkers, or some mix of the two? Because there are things that the trade/producers will understand, and things which may easily be misinterpreted by others less familiar with your specific subject.

5. Above all, kindly steer clear of the word ‘glut’. It is seized upon by the media, applied to producers and regions with no such issue, and widely used to tar all and sundry. Referring to one region, and one variety? Hah! Not for long…

Simply put, be smart. Understand the impact of your words, and measure them. Particularly when those words may be edited by the tv crew, and splashed across the evening news.

I know do not have a surplus of riesling here in Clare. In fact, I am a bit light on. But I am in the northern end of Clare. And across two regions, and around seven hundred hectares of land under vine, I can comprehensively say that the word ‘glut’ can in no way be applied to our yield this year. Quality is looking great with one block to go. That is me, and as much as I will say on the matter. If asked about the two regions, I will say how we are going, and that the word is that quality is looking good.

I will certainly not state that there is too much  of a variety with which the Australian market can struggle. I will not use the words ‘surplus’ and ‘glut’, because, quite simply, this opens the floodgates of rumour and misinterpretation. The consumers do not need to know about one or two producers’ perceived woes, because they will often take this as gospel, and apply the same ideas and words to countless other producers or regions.

Please be aware of the impact of your voice – on your brand, your region, your story. We tell tales of wineries laden with beautiful fruit,  because it pretty much looks awesome at the moment. We talk reduced yields, but gorgeous quality. We talk about the good and the great now, because we can. Whilst I am not entirely for regions blatently going for spin (you know who you are, certain wine region associations), I think a positive outlook is a requisite at this time of year.

We can talk about specifics down the track, but now? Mid-vintage? Have a care. Focus on the good. Because flapping lips without a care about something which may have little to no impact on your wine in a few months’ time could well become the game of chinese whispers we never needed to have.

Let us talk and be open, but have a care as to how things might be read by our audience. I know what was probably meant. I know the spirit in which these comments were intended. The buying public sitting in front of the telly wondering why people are talking about grapes? Not so much for the great majority. The wine world can be difficult enough at times. We need not drag ourselves down.

Our words guide the path of our business. Have a care…

**Reference is to a commercial news bulletin aired last weekend interviewing two winemakers about vintage thirteen.

One comment on “Take gun. Aim at feet. Pull trigger.

  1. Steve Knight says:

    Kate, when discussing terminology and the long term effect of the use/misuse of certain words, phrases and sentences. This from someone who was desperately trying to understand wine on reading a wine review. “At what point in the winemaking process do they add the plums and strawberries?”. Most in the industry would have a similar story, and it just goes to show how little the industry as a whole has managed to reach out to their consumers. The line quoted above is not the fault of the consumer who uttered it, but the fault of our industry (including wine critics and writers) who fail to connect at the most basic level.
    On the point that you make about certain people taking it upon themselves to be spokespeople for the industry. The best lesson that our people can learn is that if you have nothing good to say on a subject, say just that, NOTHING.

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