Wine Marketing Course

My mentor and friend, Graham Knox, owner of Stormhoek Wines, has put together a remarkable wine marketing course for UCT Graduate School of Business, called Dirty Hands - A Practical Approach to Wine Marketing. It aims to teach you how to be a success in the world's second most competitive industry.

It is a distinctive offering in the wine marketing education space, because it actually takes delegates through the process of wine creation, while at the same time learning how each step is a selling point. At the end of the course, you will not only have created and bottled your own wine, but you will be able to sell it too!

"What excites me about this programme", says Elaine Rumboll, Director of Exec Ed. at UCT GSB, "is the awareness that if a marketer is to understand the value proposition of wine from its making to its distribution that there will develop alongside of this stories and emotional connections which will help marketers in their distribution. To my knowledge, this approach is ground breaking and not on offer in any of the other wine marketing material I have viewed globally".

The course runs from 24th-26th June 2008, and costs R7200.

I see that Wine Country is offering a free spot on the course, click the pic, or this link to see how you can get your place sponsored.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Stormhoek Owner VineI recently wrote "Anyone Keen to Invest in Stormhoek? in response to their challenge around their UK partner's collapse. The post was targeted at people with Millions to invest in a wine farm. But when the post was picked up on Muti, Gingafella commented:
Everyone in the community has by now drunk gallons of Stormhoek wine, for free, at various functions. Is it not possible that the community could invest in shares instead of just one person having to fork out a lot of money?

I for one wouldn't mind a small percentage.

Graham (the owner of Stormhoek) responded:
Great idea. I wanted to do this from Dec. 21 (Orbital's failure date), as soon as I learned that our biggest distributor and owner of the UK trademark had closed doors. Let's hope that we can do something together. Whatever happens, if you want Stormhoek, you'll be able to get Stormhoek.

Now, after a month of negotiating with bankers and lawyers to structure this highly complex type of finance, Stormhoek has done it. As reported on their new blog (the old one was inexplicably locked by the UK partners, presumably to prevent bad publicity about themselves being published on it):
You will get a certificate with a photograph of your vine and your name, plus a bottle of wine made from the crop of the vineyard block containing your vine.

All of the money raised will go to repaying the Orbital debts to South African grape-growing, winemaking and support services.

I have learned from speaking with Graham that Stormhoek's business secure. So this campaign really is for the South African farmworkers and suppliers who will otherwise lose their jobs and businesses as a result of Orbital's demise.
When the crunch came in December 2007, R6 million ($800 000) was owed to South African suppliers.

South Africa’s wine industry is not rich. Household income, averaged out across every employee: boss, labourer, supervisor, receptionist, driver, manager, foreman, all of them, is less than R2500 per month.

None of these businesses can afford to lose R500 000.

As a result, all of the dozen or so businesses will have to decide about cutbacks: if, what, when and who.

You can help. You can own a vine

You can have your own vine in the Stormhoek Vineyards.

The vines each cost R2000, and the best thing about this is that you will get your money back when the current debt to the suppliers is repaid. If you can't afford to invest in a vine yourself, or with some friends, then please at least help spread the word. This will change lives.

My contribution to spreading the word was to Muti it. Please click HERE to vote the article up!  And help get it to the top of Digg by voting HERE!

(and yes, I'm taking a vine too - will post pics)

Read the original announcement, with full details HERE on Stormhoek's blog
AuthorDave Duarte
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Stormhoek's new bottleMany people in South Africa know about the Stormhoek wine's marketing success story. But now, as announced on their blog, they're at risk of losing their hold on their largest market - the UK.

Despite the phenomenal sales and growth Stormhoek has experienced, Orbital Wines (Stormhoek's distribution partner in the UK) has gone out of business and is under administration from their bank. It seems they over-extended themselves by investing in other wineries around the world which weren't as lucrative as Stormhoek.
This is bad news for Stormhoek's owner, South Africa based Graham Knox. Not only does he not recover the funds he is owed by Orbital, but he needs quickly to re-establish distribution in the UK if the lucrative contracts he has in place with the major retailers in the UK (such as Tesco's) are to be maintained.

So Stormhoek is looking for an investor, someone to buy the distribution rights in the UK.

This is a superb opportunity for someone to own a significant stake in a global wine brand. I've met with Graham, and have heard the price. It's a figure which will easily be re-couped by the investor in a relatively short time.

Stormhoek has supported the geek community around the world, and South Africa in particular. Graham and Chris have asked me to blog about this investment opportunity because it might reach the right ears. As a social-media community we can help this South African success story continue. Blog it, Muti it, talk about it.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Checkers and StormhoekGood news for those who've been wondering where to get Stormhoek wine in South Africa: it's now available at Checkers around the country.

It's not easy getting a big grocery chain to stock a new wine, so part of the deal is that Stormhoek had to do an interesting web promotion to go with the launch.

So 3000 bottles of Stormhoek in Checkers have a little neck tag that encourages people to find Stormhoek Big Love on Facebook and add it as a friend. The people who do so can win t-shirts and wine each week until all the bottles are sold.

Lastly, if you blog about it then they'll send you a bottle to say thanks:) To let them know, just link to this post, or mail  . UPDATE: for the first 20 bloggers
AuthorDave Duarte
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Kath with the ChampersOn Friday evening, a small group of bloggers and podcasters met at Stormhoek's farm in Wellington for a special braai.... And besides having a really (really!) great time, I had some thoughts about Marketing (goodness gracious - does anyone else out there think about marketing while inebriated at 2am??)

Stormhoek wine has become a global marketing sensation, thanks in no small part to their blog strategy - which got them onto Ad Age's Marketing 50 for 2006 along with huge spenders like Toyota, Fanta and Xbox360. That type of prominence doesn't happen by mistake... We can learn alot from these guys.

My takeaway thoughts from the braai:

  • Sure they sell wine, but they're in the entertainment business (why do you think people drink wine?)

  • Extremely popular business phenomena are usually driven by a core group of enthusiasts at the heart of the brand

  • If the product experience is perceived as poor quality, then no amount of promotion is going to make up for that.. There's got to be authentic passion for the product itself.

  • Most importantly, as a Stormhoek enthusiast, I connect with their people - their personality shines through in what they do....

As Hugh Macleod, blogger in chief at Stormhoek points out: Growth will come, not from yet more efficiency (we're already very efficient), but by humanification (more). In other words, by forming more personal relationships and allowing a smarter, more personal conversation to happen between you and your customers and evangelists.

And lastly: "If you want to have a cool brand, you have to do cool stuff".
AuthorDave Duarte
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