If you could wave a magic wand and make a change for the better in the world wine business in 2013, what would you do?
Perhaps a better question: what would you change first?
As part of our 10th birthday celebrations in 2012, we asked all the guests at our various events throughout the year (see also next story) to jot down a wish for the future and hang it on our jeroboam-size ornamental bottles.
The wishes ranged from the intensely practical – examples included a single global standard for labelling laws and good wifi connections and charging plugs for smartphones placed at regular intervals in all wine fairs – through to the self-interested (plugs for wines from Portugal, Sardinia, Carmenere and Vino-Lok closures).
In between were some consistent views that the industry is perhaps becoming isolated from its consumers and, frankly, a bit uptight: “More commitment to the buying customer”; “forget the pretense and celebrate wine for what it is – a delicious drink we should all enjoy”; “that wine will be fun again and engage consumers around the globe”.
Others hoped for a more far-sighted industry: “that owners and managers have a ‘vision’ instead of buying a winery because they think it is cool”; “that wine businesses devote as much thinking time to how they sell wine as they do to making wine”.
Finally, it’s worth noting one correspondent who ignored the syntax and posed what may be the key industry question for 2013: “ . . . social media is used mostly by young people. Wine is used mainly by older people with money. How can one combine the two sensibly?”