Thursday, February 18, 2010

Foster's Future...Not in My Hands.

The article below provoked a strong reaction from me. This blog entry is a response to the article titled, "Why gen Y might not save Foster's." Here is the link if you would like to read it: http://www.smh.com.au/business/why-gen-y-might-not-save-fosters-20100216-o94d.html


The world renowned company of Foster's, have been running into some financially difficulty due to the economic times. This week, the company suggested, that gen Y or the millenniums, will be the ones to "ride to their rescue." Being 'a millennium' myself, this statement enrages me for many reasons. To start, I agree that gen Y has embraced wine at a younger age but I don't think it will be enough to save an empire. I do not agree that gen Y is prepared to pay higher prices for wine, as the article suggests. In fact, I think it is the opposite. Since we started drinking wine at a younger age, we (as millenniums,) are aware of great value wines for less, especially, in this economic climate, which brings me to point number two.

To suggest millenniums were "raised to have high self-esteem and a sense of entitlement that includes expectations of material success," has some truth to it but given the current economic climate, I think we, as a generation, have had a serious wake-up call. I can attest to this awakening feeling. The times are rough, dream jobs are nowhere to be found. Had you asked me when graduating college, would I ever have difficulty finding work? I would have looked at you with a smirk, replying with a resounding, "No." Maybe it is the self-esteem and confidence this author accuses gen Y of growing up with but if anything is going to get our generation through this financial crisis and back on track with our careers, it's confidence. If we give up now, there is no future.

The article goes on to address the problem with assuming gen Y will save the day, which allows me to relax a little, "..the highest quality segment is the one most exposed to the long-term effects of the global financial crisis..." just like I stated before, the millenniums are not always willing to pay a higher price for wine. It continues to read, "...and the least emotionally prepared to deal with them...Peck warns that the entire gen Y is at risk of being injured by the extended period of high unemployment the global crisis is producing. He cites research that suggests graduates who enter the workforce during such times suffer permanent damage to their career paths, and permanent income loss." Millenniums may suffer financially and will most likely be drinking lower priced wines during this time, the high-end wines are struggling to sell. Again, a wake-up call, that has emotionally prepared us to use our confidence and self-esteem to get gen Y and the world to a better financial time.

Foster's is a large company trying to make it through this time like so many other companies, I think they need to change their marketing strategies and business model to succeed. I do not think depending on the next generation of wine drinkers is going to save the bottom line. This is the biggest hardship a generation has seen since the great depression. I will not be surprised if my children read about this time period in their history books as the Second Great Depression. So, I got enraged when I saw this article because gen Y's self-esteem and confidence is better used at helping the times get better as a whole and not focused on saving one company who sells luxury items. Get real Fosters, if you business model is failing you, YOU need to re-evaluate it not my generation.

As a final note, I recently visited Cellar 360 in San Francisco, a wine tasting and shopping venue owned by Foster's. After my recent tasting experience there, I don't know how Cellar 360 or Foster's as a whole, will survive. The portfolio is far from stunning and their lack luster in presenting information and pure passion are all signs of struggle. If a company is waiting for the next generation to bail them out, well that is a stupid business model. If you can't sell now, you won't sell later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Simply Grapes


Keeping with my passion of wine, I have created a business designed to take the intimidation out of learning about wine by creating an informal and comfortable environment to taste, talk and of course...learn about wine.

I work with clients to custom create fun games and activities to promote wine education either at home or a local venue. Great for dinner parties, networking events, Bachelorette parties, baby showers, cocktail parties, etc.

I feel passionate about promoting wine education and making consumers feel comfortable with their wine purchases, no matter how large or small. I also want people to feel comfortable talking about wine and tasting wine in any social setting.

Visit http://simplygrapes.com/to learn more. All feedback is also welcomed. If you or anyone you know, are interested in planning an event, please e-mail me: simplygrapes@gmail.com

Thank you and Santé,
Charlotte

Wine Quote

"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."

-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crushpad is Moving :(


Crushpad is a custom crush winery located in San Francisco...well, not for much longer. They have decided to move their operations to Napa. As a San Franciscan, I am upset. By moving to Napa, I feel Crushpad is just becoming another winery, on an already long list, of over 500 wineries located in Napa. What has always made Crushpad unique is allowing the 'average Joe,' who lives in the city, the ability to make their own wine. It was also an opportunity for fellow 'winos,' like me, to get our winery fix without driving an hour to wine country.

Crushpad also hosted some amazing wine events at their warehouse in the Dog Patch neighborhood of San Francisco. One of the most memorable was a reenactment of the 1976 Paris tasting followed by the premier of the movie Bottle Shock, (about 1976 tasting,) where the directors came to talk about the film. Due to the move, these kind of events will no longer take place due to limited space. However, smaller classes on blending and tasting will still be offered.

What is motivating this move? Crushpad wants to be closer to their vineyards. I do understand there must be a heavy cost in trucking grapes to the city, as their client enrollment continues to increase. But for a group of friends living in San Francisco, who came together to create a barrel of wine for home consumption, who want to be swing by the warehouse and taste their wine before heading out to dinner, can no longer have this luxury. I wonder if their clientele will change and if this is a worthwhile move. The majority of people who live in Napa are either making wine at existing custom crush facility or at home. In addition, the large majority of San Franciscans do not have cars, like myself. The motivation to head up north only comes after significant planning and organizing. It will be interesting to see if and how Crushpad changes. Will it be worth leaving your SF winos thirsty for more?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Favorite Value Wines

In response to the last posting I would like to suggest some of my favorite value wines. Happy Drinking!! (Responsibly of course!)

1) Dona Paula Malbec. Retails for around $14. Perfect pairing with red meats, especially burgers.

2) Brooks Winery The Amycas: $15. My favorite white blend from Oregon

3) Columbia Winery, Cellar Master Riesling. $14. The perfect pairing with Thai food.

4) Cambria Katherines Vineyard Chardonnay: $16. Good pairing with heavy cream based dishes and seafood.

5) La Crema Sonoma Pinot Noir: $17.

6) Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris: $17. One of the best Pinot Gris from Oregon

7) Bitch. $10. Grenache from Australia. Good pairing with heavy cheese and rich dishes.

8) Cristalino Brut Sparkling. $8. Perfect for parties and mimosas.

9) Raats Family Wines, Chenin Blanc: $13. From South Africa and the perfect wine for warm summer days!

10) Core Wine Company; C3 Tempranillo: $18...very tasty!! Great with tomato based sauces and with pizza.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Will the Wine Industry Rebound?

As I gain more and more experience in the wine industry, I can't help but wonder how the high-end wines are suffering in this economic climate. Are things really getting better? Are customers back to purchasing those $35 bottles instead of $15 bottles? My guess, they are not. What does that mean for the future of fine wines and the wine industry as a whole?

As a consumer and individual watching how I spend my money, I continue to look for great value in the wines I drink. Both excellent imported and local wines can be found for $10 or $15. As this recession continues, I do not foresee a change in my drinking habits. Will this trend continue and how do wineries with product priced higher than $35 adapt?

I wonder if "cult" wines or ultra premium wineries will start to redefine their image and product lines. I would assume the majority will try and maintain the top-tier reputation they have, while others, may try to shift their brand image. Will the wine industry mold to cater to mass produced, mediocre wines? Will quality be compromised or will wineries try to make the same quality and sell for less?

If the later was to happen, how will that effect the industry years down the road? Will consumers be accustomed to purchasing high quality wines for less? Becoming unwilling to pay more for a product they have been paying less for. Some economists might argue supply and demand, as money begins to flow back into the economy and consumer's pockets, the amount of customers willing to pay more for the same product will also increase. But I would argue back that as more and more people start to drink wine especially during this time, the average consumer has realized you can get high quality for less. So, to accommodate this current trend, how do wineries adapt, do they purchase different grapes, start growing their own, heavily discount wines, produce less or even take a heavy financial hit now in hope of a strong economic turnaround?

This post really ask more questions then it answers. Only time will tell. Until then I will continue to drink some great value wines in the $10-$15 range. How about you?