The news that the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group [SBIG] has secured sponsorship from First National Bank for a continuation of the controversial Sauvigon Blanc Challenge from defunct WINE magazine, confirms that wine marketing abhors a vacuum. But has the market moved on? Consumers buy wine for occasions: a Sunday braai, wedding anniversary, book club and not by varietal. Most punters think that rosé is a cultivar.
This is the seminal idea behind Clare Mack’s revolutionary 100 Women, 100 Wines event that went down at the V&A hotel at the Waterfront yesterday. And rather than pointy headed “professional” pundits from Pinelands, Clare brought ordinary women together from Pretoria, Porterville and Putsonderwater to choose them, courtesy of 1Time Airlines. Ladies were selected by a competition run in Destiny magazine, the most popular competition Destiny has ever run.
Producers did not have to pay to enter either, thanks to sponsorship from Spar – hopefully the case in the revived Sauvignon Challenge, given the deep pockets of FNB. Wines were screened blind by a panel of 30 lady bloggers on Women’s Day and yesterday between 14 and 18 wines in ten categories were shown to 100 ladies.
A minimum of twenty women tasted each wine, attaching stickers to the ones they’d buy (including the hottest waiters and some stickers were applied as bhindis, lending Eastern glamour to the event). Of the 150-odd wines tasted in ten categories, 10 Sauvignon Blancs were selected for seven occasions.
Rather than a single “quality” criterion – which does not exist, as embarrassing public disagreements at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show between the panel chair and a Master of Wine from Hong Kong, confirms – far better to lunch with Miss Molly and give the Vergelegen to your boss as a birthday present. With the SBIG employing the same panel chair as Old Mutual, a predictable shouty style is forecast to emerge. But is anyone listening? Without a media partner, this competition will be another dead tree falling in a forest without making a sound.
The author advised 100 women, 100 wines on selection of wines for the event.