08 December 2006 - by -
After mulling over the year's major news stories we are convinced even those whose list-making was more frivolous and less methodical than ours would've arrived at the same conclusion. There is only but one true contender for the title.
The WINE.CO.ZA Newsmaker of the Year
is Stormhoek, for quite simply being the biggest and
most profound news story in South African wine in 2006.
Considering its tally of 18 entries in the WineNews
database this year, its 191 000 Google hits, its doubling of sales volume and numerous accolades, it would be highly irresponsible not
to name the brand Newsmaker of the Year 2006.
But there's a bit more to be said yet. To Stormhoek the title of WINE.CO.ZA Newsmaker of the Year
for......being more than marketing speak. Stormhoek seized 3 of the 17 coveted positions awarded to South African wine in UK wine scribe Matthew Jukes’s cult-status guide, The Wine List. The Stormhoek Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio all feature and - wait for it - all three wines retail at £5.99/bottle. So then, for delivering the goods and not only creating the hype.
For lending impetus to SA wine’s generic efforts around the £5 mark (17% of all South African wine sold in the UK above £5/bottle is from the Stormhoek stable).
For blazing a trail for small guys everywhere, as in not featuring in the big brand realm. For beating colossal contenders the like of Campari and Chivas Regal at The Drinks Business Awards 2006, receiving Best Consumer Campaign of the Year. Thus, for inspiring us in a year that saw SA’s footprint in the UK decline by several percentage points. And for all the while keeping South Africa on the UK wine trade’s radar by the mere virtue of being talked about.
For 'disrupting' wine marketing and communication in every possible way.
For making sense. For living the virtual brand business model by being light on bricks and mortar and heavy on sourcing quality fruit from passionate growers across regions; but also for investing locally, in land, and for giving the brand a home here. For partnering marketing savvy - resident and experienced in the target market - with local viticultural and winemaking acumen; not necessarily a novel concept but a seriously sensible one.
For being awarded the Pinotage Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, outmanoeuvring more illustrious and far more expensive versions. For delivering the goods, again, but especially for doing it with a varietal South African winemakers aren’t always united in their esteem of.
Lastly, for subliminally putting South Africa in hundreds of thousands of people’s collective mind space.