Trevor O'Hoy speaks
I was alerted to an interview with Trevor O'Hoy, president of Foster's Group, by a post on the UK wine forum. Australian wine giant Southcorp have, since summer 2005, been part of Fosters Wine Estates, which includes the likes of Beringer, Lindemans, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Rosemount, Matua Valley and Wynns Coonawarrra Estate.
The business of wine can be quite depressing for the real wine lover: when you look below the surface and see the nuts and bolts of the industry, it can take some of the romance away. At the same time, from a journalist's perspective it's good to try to understand the beast you are dealing with, something I tried to do in this piece a while back.
The O'Hoy interview only really scratches the surface, but he finishes with the final point. "The world is getting smaller. You will see fewer and fewer big players, but also more small niche brands. The mid-range will disappear. This is the perfect model for us because small players get people talking about their products. We commercialise that talk."
If we unpack this a bit, he seems to be suggesting that the big players "piggy back" on the smaller producers. In wine, small niche producers create the glamour, the interest, the stories, creating a market which the big brands then cash in on. Kind of like my comments on brands, parasitism and mimicry (here). Am I reading this correctly?