|Video and review of Enotria annual tasting|
|Written by Jenny Mackenzie|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:43|
Enotria's annual trade tasting on Tuesday took the theme of ‘discovery' and so it was off to the Saatchi Gallery in King's Road, London. Here you can watch our interview with chief executive, Alison Levett, about what went on (click here) and our review of the tasting, by Jenny Mackenzie.
The key point of the ‘discovery' campaign this year is to promote ‘by the glass' wine sales, encouraging consumers to experiment and trade up to higher priced wines by the glass. The focus for outlets is an emphasis on cash margins rather than percentages, again to encourage a move to better quality, higher priced wines. The 55 wines in the ‘discovery' campaign range from £5 to £11 per glass [on the wine list] with sales managers tailoring the choice according to the type of outlet.
Chief executive, Alison Levett's former background in marketing is the drive behind this "market led approach" in the current economic climate, "responding to what customers want". The trend of "down-trading to house wine" is the motivating factor behind the ‘discover' campaign. The long-term shift towards casual dining also suits ‘by the glass' sales, where diners may "want a glass of white with one course and a glass of red with another".
Enotria is one of the UK's leading wine companies with £105m turnover and 180 UK based staff, 110 of whom work at the company headquarters [including warehouse and logistics centre] in London's Park Royal. Forty years old last year, Enotria's roots are as an Italian wine specialist, still making up 50% of all sales. Enotria total sales are split 35% off-trade and 55-60% on-trade with the remainder international, including a recent move into Asia. Enotria's heartland is "independent, owner-run, and the on-trade," according to Fraser McGuire, on-trade sales director.
Another topical innovation launched at Enotria's annual trade tasting this year, was wine cocktails. Using fruit juices, herbs and spritzer-type mixers allows creativity with wine in bars and pubs. Being able to offer a more interesting lower alcohol wine choice is "one of the aspects" of the wine cocktail idea, explains Levett, as well as helping wine to reach a different audience, for example, bartenders.
A few top picks from the wines at the tasting were:
Ruggeri, Prosecco Frizzante Spago. The Italian sparkling wine success story has become a brand in itself. Levett confirmed "consumers really like the style". Ben Smith, head of communications, says that in order to "stay ahead of the curve", Enotria uses "insights" as much "in the buying" [as selling]. For example, the Prosecco boom leads to similar wines from Italy being sourced, such as sparkling wine, Pignoletto from Modena.
Panizzi, Vernacchia di San Gimignano was one of the ‘discovery' wines highlighted at the tasting. Italian whites offer exciting, foodie wines for engaged consumers looking for more sophistication. This DOCG in Tuscany is still little known in the UK. However, the wines get better every year and now deserve acclaim.
Chateau Rives-Blanques. Owner Jan Panman says the Limoux is still relatively unknown, offering fantastic value for money. The Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc blend, IGP Pays d'Oc was an excellent quality white wine: smooth, stylish and very well made. All this producer's wines are superb.
Yealands Estate is one of Marlborough, New Zealand's key producers with the engaging Tamra Washington at the winemaking helm. Making a wide range of varietals including an accomplished Pinot Noir and with just two hectares of "sell-out" Gruner Veltliner, Yealand's Estate is always interesting and innovative.
Enotria's twin-focus on consumer trends and assisting its trade customers to "drive their wine category forward" is impressive. The ‘discover' ‘by the glass' campaign is a great way to give diners a more interesting choice of wine without having to order a full bottle. Wine cocktails are a fun way of creating interest around wine, perhaps encouraging ‘millennials' who may not be confident with wine yet to move on from RTDs, as well as being a profitable way for outlets to use up opened bottles.
* You can watch a video interview from the Enotria tasting
More at www.enotria.co.uk
* You can read more of Jenny Mackenzie at www.earlybirdwinenews.com