Thierry's consumer bloggers open up LIWF
UK wine agency, Thierry's, invited six consumers to attend this year's London International Wine Fair to get a better understanding of the kind of wines people are looking to buy.
Whilst it did not have its own stand at this year's show many of its produces were present at the chosen consumers were able to go round and taste their wines, talk to winemakers and get a behind the scenes feel for the UK wine trade.
Throughout the fair Thierry's ran a live blog to keep its customers up to date with what was going on along with regular updates from the Thierry's consumers - or rove reporters - at the show.
"We're always talking about ‘listening to the consumer' in the trade but how many of us actually do and how many simply pay lip service?" says Matthew Dickinson, commercial director at Thierry's.
"We decided to view the LIWF through completely fresh eyes and to experience it from the customer's perspective. It was actually quite liberating not being tied to a stand. We were able to visit all of our producers at the Fair, meet our customers, check out the competition, taste new wines, look for new suppliers and attend seminars. It was a very successful Fair for us."
For an added incentive the most pro-active consumer at the show won a trip for two to visit French producer, Gérard Bertrand and a Jazz Festival in the Languedoc. Each was given a theme to explore from wine packaging, food and wine matching, organic/green issues, value for money, New World vs Old World.
"As a consumer, visiting the Fair was an intriguing and invaluable experience", says Will Berresford, one of Thierry's roving reporters. "I was given a rare insight and the opportunity to meet some of the most influential figures in the wine trade - wine producers, masters of wine, food and wine writers and bloggers. They all greeted us with warmth and enthusiasm and were clearly interested in our opinions. The highlight for me was my interview with Alex Murray of Waitrose Wine Direct. He talked about the value of social media in the retail trade and how creating an emotional link with the consumer helps education by encouraging an open dialogue amongst consumers online, which in turn increases awareness of the provenance of the wines and the personalities behind them."
The consumers were all from a non-wine background, apart from this year's WSET Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award (TCSA) winner, Andy Battman. The event was managed by last year's TCSA winner and wine blogger, Pieter Rosenthal and Katherine O'Callaghan, Thierry's PR. You can still catch up on the blog and other items from their week at the fair at: www.thierryswine.posterous.com.