Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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Last Saturday the All Blacks and the Wallabies (for the uninitiated, the national rugby teams of New Zealand and Australia) played out a nail-biting 12-12 draw in Sydney, in conditions straight out of the bleakest mid-winter scenes of ‘March of the Penguins’.
In pulling off the draw, the (delete expletives here) Aussies stopped the All Blacks from securing a world record 18 consecutive victories. Sport, as ever, can be cruel and the margins between happiness and heartbreak tiny.
As fortune would have it, just two days later as my depression was starting to lift, I was the guest at another head-to-head showing of Australasian (or as we Kiwis say, NewZealandOzasian) excellence, this time born not from Antipodean sporting fields but of the two countries’ respective vineyards.
The wineries were Craggy Range. which produces stunning wines out of Martinborough and Hawkes Bay in New Zealand, and Taylors, which makes an outstanding array of wines out of the beautiful Clare Valley in South Australia.
The tasting (more of that later) was arranged by the irrepressible Barry Geoghegan, Founder & Managing Director of Barry Global Innovation, a specialist wine company operating out of Ireland (it would be wrong, simply wrong of a Kiwi to make any cheap rugby jokes at Ireland’s expense here so I won’t, though if you want one click here), which is determined to raise wine’s profile in travel retail.
The venue was the London headquarters of famed French wine house Louis Latour (which represents both wineries in the UK) and on hand with Barry and me were Craggy Range Sales Director Warren Adamson; Taylors Wines Head of Export Sales Neil Hadley MW; and Laura Klingeman of Seva Group (based in The Netherlands), which will be selling the wines into Latin America travel retail (Barry represents them on a global travel retail basis).
Make no mistake about the significance of companies such as Craggy Range and Taylors targeting travel retail. As I have suggested repeatedly, wine’s time as a category has finally arrived in our channel. For so long it was dismissed as a low-margin, irrelevant category in duty free. Try telling that to DFS at Hong Kong Kong International Airport, where the retailer generates an average transaction value of US$95 on wine – only about US$5 below that of spirits. That’s what can be done when you offer serious wines presented in a serious way. Yet often, way too often, I see wine displays in airport shops that would embarass the cheapest local market discount retailer.
As I write this, we have hit deadline on our weekly e-Newsletter so I’ll have to stop and go ‘live’ as we say in the publishing business with this preview of the whole Blog. Stay tuned for my tasting notes and some important observations from Neil, Warren and Barry about the future for fine wine in travel retail. And read how a second draw between two Southern Hemisphere giants in the space of three days occurred.