Being There, Australia-style
Australia is reinventing the wine tasting event for the 21st century wine consumer
The Rootstock Festival is a great example of the new way of selling wine in Australia. For $50 you can taste wine from 69 sustainable wine producers, each occupying a small stall. They are joined by local artisan food stalls serving up snacks created by high profile chefs, bars specialising in craft beer, Orange Wine and Sake, while a hipster DJ spins tunes in the background. Set in a stifling warehouse without ventilation (The Carriageworks), in one of Sydney’s more recently gentrified neighbourhoods (Redfern), the 30+ degree airless heat didn’t seem to bother the crowds of wine tasters flocking around tables to chat with winemakers and try something new.
Rootstock is just one of a number of great examples of how Australian wineries are tapping into one of the key trends we’ve identified for 2014, which we’ve dubbed “Being There”. This trend is perhaps a direct reaction against the increasing remoteness we feel, surrounded by technology. It’s all about participation: delighting in experiences we can cherish and share. Sometimes we need to take off the headphones, log out of email, power off the PC and get a fix of reality. This trend is a great opportunity for our industry, as wine is of course a standard requirement for most social gatherings.
Further examples of great pioneering wine-related consumer experiences were highlighted last month in our latest programme of workshops of global consumer trends, with wine businesses across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide: ‘Dinner in the Sky’ takes place on a table hoisted 50 metres above the ground, complete with waiting staff for around 20 diners, as part of the Good Food Month (Sydney, Australia, October 2013); meanwhile ‘Pinot Palooza’ organises events for varietal-fanatics across Australia to taste wine and have fun with food and music too; whilst pop-up “Cellar door” festivals bring the wineries to the city in central parks (e.g. Cellar Door Wine Festival in Sydney’s Hyde Park last month).
It’s true you really had to be there at Rootstock to witness a certain winemaker get overly merry on his own goods, downing dregs straight from tasting bottles whilst encouraging the crowds around him to do the same. But the success of this example is perhaps so noteworthy because it also taps into another important trend: ‘Feel Good’. This festival’s mission was to help smaller artisan producers who produce sustainable wines. I’m certain most people were not fully aware of the production techniques of these Natural wines. But the ethos supports the growing trend to feel good about looking after our local community and the environment, which in turn makes us feel good. And we also feel good about the businesses that share these instincts.
For more on our Trends Report 2014, please click on this link
Author: Natasha Rastegar