Why is collaborative marketing so successful among winegrowers in New Zealand?
I've seen various ways of collaborating in the industry. All the regional winegrower organisations work together at a regional level, the national organisations from various countries collaborate internationally and then you have other intitiatives like the Family of Twelve with twelve top NZ wineries and the Specialist Winemakers of New Zealand. There is a huge amount of effort that goes into collectively telling the NZ wine story and it's been going on for well over 30 years.
We must be doing something right. The industry has grown from $125 million in 2000 to $1.2 billion in 2012.
What sort of events are NZ winemakers working at together?
In late January, Pinot Noir NZ 2013 was held in Wellington. This event was set up five years ago by Richard Riddiford from Palliser Estate, a member of the Family of Twelve. In Richard's view, NZ pinot was not talked about enough around the world. He brought New Zealand's Pinot Noir wineries together to market their wines and it is now one of the best wine events in the world attracting international buyers with around 100 wineries marketing their wine. They all participate in the show because it makes sense.
NZ winemakers are also marketing together at events such as the Americas Cup and we have just returned from a promotional event in China.
What sorts of things have you seen wineries do for each other in the spirit of collaboration?
At a trade show, while one winery stand participant may go off for a break, another wine company nearby will market their wine story for them if anyone stops by the stand.This is just standard operating procedure in the wine industry.
They may all be competitors but it's a bigger game in town for us, the bigger game being getting the wider NZ wine story out there.
It's always very easy to focus on the things that divide you, but it's far more challenging and effective to focus on things that unite you. When our winemakers go out into the wide world we are all telling a story about NZ wine, not Marlborough, Central Otago or Hawkes Bay wine. Individual brands stand on a platform that is about New Zealand. If we do a wine tasting in San Francisco as we did recently, we like to have 50 wineries there. Then there are 50 different reasons for people to come along.
Winemakers work very hard and sometimes in isolation. It's nice for them to feel a part of something bigger such as the NZ wine industry. We all share an investment in that.
If you are a NZ business selling a product, chances are you have been exporting from the beginning. Tell us your stories of how you are reaching your international markets - is it through distributors or on the ground partners or online and direct? Tell us how you make it work for your business.