Fairview tasting pods

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a short course on wine consumer behaviour at the UCT Graduate School of Business. One of the things that was mentioned then was that as a general rule, wine consumers have a core of five brands that they trust and buy regularly, and will venture outside of those five occasionally to try something new. This has been brought about by a number of things, including the competitive noise and confusion facing the average consumer.

This level of competitiveness at product level has moved from the retail shelves to the cellar doors over the past decade, with hundreds of South African wine farms offering an excellent quality cellar door experience. Farms do their best to try to differentiate their offering; to try and stand from the crowd.

When you spot a new wine label or get a recommendation from a friend, you may try it, but if the wine in the bottle doesn’t live up to the expectation, you’ll be unlikely to pick it up again. The same may be true of a cellar door. The ethos, service and attitude of the team needs to match up to the design, aspirations and products offered by the farm in order to impress a guest. Of course, good quality wines are non-negotiable! In as much the same way as wine taste is personal, so too is our choice of how we like to spend our free time. Visitors will identify with certain cellar door offerings more than with others and this is reflected in their enjoyment of the experience and their willingness to recommend it or to return themselves.

As South African wine farm, I think that we have a duty to encourage visitors to travel around the winelands and try new things. It is this diversity that has kept the Cape’s wine routes so valuable to tourism in the province. But at the same time, I think that we all aim to have our guests wanting to come back to our cellar door.

So here is my question. Do wine lovers develop a ‘local’ in the same way that they may find their favourite pub or bar? A place where they identify with the brand, the farm and its people. Is a wine brand, and its cellar door, a product experience that can be returned to regularly and still have an impact?

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2 Comments on Wine tasting at your local?

  1. Linda says:

    Absolutely! Fairview has and always will be a local for me – I am addicted to the farm, the wine, the cheese, the food, the coffee…and the goats! I also really love going to Anura out that side. My favourite in the Constantia wine valley is Eagle’s Nest.

  2. Les Calderwood says:

    I suppose you do visit your ‘local’ favourite wine farm on a more regular basis so it’s important to keep standards of service high and not just depend on passing tourist trade.. Living in the Northern Suburbs has it’s advantages though? Which Wine Farm do you call your ‘local’ ?
    I think visiting all of the Western Cape’s wine farms is a brilliant goal to set,though being realistic the modern working life just will not allow the time to rotate them all! Alas to be a professional wine taster… ! Enjoy the wines and I agree with Linda on Fairview,especially that new’ vac packed brineless  Feta’ yummy

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