jamie goode's wine blog: Trevor O'Hoy speaks

Monday, February 06, 2006

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?



At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Jean-Pierre said...

I read your articles with great interest. Your description of the big boys piggy-backing is sound, and they are going to become more and more adept at it. As you point out, the organic and cultural nature of wine will be a snag, another is the obviousness of many of the big brands - but this will be finessed...

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Sean Howe said...

Piggy back is not quite accurate, but that is how we describe it to the liitle children when we see two dogs doing it

when next down our way jamie

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Sean, nice one...dunno when I'll be in Sicily again, but I enjoyed the lightning visit last August. I gather Tamra's left for KWV. That's brave - out of the frying pan...


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