The new website and email got off to a good start last week. It’s still a work in progress and should have more polish this week. I was nervous sending it out on a Saturday, as it’s not the best day, but it was well received over the weekend and openings went past the average rate of the old newsletter. Monday came, and those returning to work opened TKR so I was very pleased. It was a record readership for TKR. Some missed out, as I failed to combine two database lists, but that is now sorted, and analytics for the website are also being sorted so more information can be gained. Not all the email greeting names have been updated; it should read “welcome [name]” but I don’t know everyone’s first names so it may say “Welcome [your email]”. If you would like to see your name there instead, please let me know.
I haven’t yet written to all those to whom I want to write, or given the specs for ads to all those that have agreed. Nor have all replied to me or given me their ads to insert. Nor have I sent many invoices since November as I have been working on the new site and pricing, so all those that have agreed will be invoiced soon. The specs are below.
For those who are giving support, thank you. For those who are not, that is fine, but please let me know. I am expecting TKR readership to grow and gain in influence among industry, trade and consumers.
The news that Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) CEO Mike Clarke has received a 30 per cent pay rise to $2.2 million should not come as a surprise to anyone who follows the company. TWE is doing well and looks set to do better. Shareholders are getting a good dividend, up from 6 cents to 8 cents, on the recent half-year result, and the share price has increased in the past year. To top it all, the Penfolds brand has been named the most admired wine brand in the world (see Australian Wine News).
The pay rise is standard and in line. Like any CEO, Clarke will be shown the door if the company goes astray. The news made the national and regional press, and no doubt generated a few quips from grape growers selling their crop to TWE at less than generous prices.
A headline that brought a smile was to be found on the stuff.co.nz website: “Matua winery in Auckland on the market, following CEO pay rise.” It reads as if TWE had to flog a winey to finance the CEO’s pay packet.
The winery is a small site, just 31.68 hectares including 6 hectares of vineyard, a winery and function centre. The reason for the sale is not to finance Clarke’s generous pay rise but because TWE is concentrating its production on the South Island.
The Gentleman’s Collection and 19 Crimes are TWE brands aimed at Millennial consumers (birth years from the early 1980s to the early 2000s), particularly in America. This is a sector that has gone off Australian wine. My belief is that brands such as Yellow Tail, Lindeman’s and Jacob’s Creek are thought of as wine for the old folk.
Stephane Quien Wine & Spirits is a Bordeaux-based merchant that has released a range of wines it says is aimed at Millennials. Does Quien think Millennials are all dim-witted? I understand the names Gentleman’s Collection and 19 Crimes, but is not Be Bordô Le Fruity Red Merlot, Le Deep Red Cabernet Sauvignon and Le Crisp White Sauvignon Blanc condescending? They are going on sale around the US$12 ($16) mark.
There is a heap of good quality sparkling wine in Australia, a good proportion of it a match for Champagne. Sparkling wine exports are going down yet we continue to increase Champagne imports. In 2015 imports exceeded a 24 per cent increase amounting to 8,110,106 bottles. Australia is the 6th largest export market for Champagne.
People come and people go, some I wish hadn’t arrived and others I’m sorry to see depart. Last year my great friend for decades, Yvonne May, died. A huge loss to me and many other personal friends but also a huge loss to Wine Australia in the UK and Europe.
I’m sad to see Angela Slade has decided to depart as Regional Director North America for Wine Australia. A more recent friend than Yvonne but an equally smart, articulate and knowledgeable woman. I spent a few days with her in New York last December and was very impressed with her in every aspect. Australia’s loss is another’s gain and I wish Angela good fortune and karma for the future.
Eat well, drink wisely and love with passion this coming week.