Message in a bottle: How do we create, educate and communicate about wine?

Thanks so much to those of you were able to join us for Women in Wine LDN panel discussion: ‘Message in a Bottle.’ We were really pleased to have so many of you there and thought that the panelists offered great insight into communications from industry to consumer. 

For those of you who missed it, we went to Liberty Wines on Tuesday evening, where our panel of speakers Nicky Forrest (Managing Director of Phipps PR), Abigail Barlow (Director, BD Creative) and Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW (Educator and international Wine Judge) discussed effective communication in the wine trade; they highlighted obstacles faced when developing a style of language, design and platforms for engagement that are relevant to the consumer and key to success. We include their bios at the bottom of the page.

From left: Regine Lee, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal, Nicky Forrest and Abigail Barlow

From left: Regine Lee, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal, Nicky Forrest and Abigail Barlow

The evening highlighted the cross pollination of education, visual design and public relations; it was clear that each sector faces similar challenges in navigating between under or over communicating wine to the consumer. Among discussion points were the power of the on-trade in communicating and hand-selling wines, and the importance of telling a story.

Forrest spoke in depth about the changing landscape of public relations in the wine industry, the growing necessity of community management (focusing on social media channels) and the influence of large, multiple retailers. The sentiment was echoed by Cherutti-Kowal who believes that the power of creating opportunities for consumers to taste different styles of wine especially through by-the-glass listings in the on-trade, is huge. She commented that it’s key for waitstaff to be engaged and trained, as they're the gatekeepers to effective sales.

Barlow led the discussion on story-telling, commenting on the influence of label design and the importance of winemakers themselves understanding the end consumer in order to sell the wine at the end of the day. She also provided key insights in to how design affects shopper buying habits and the generational and cultural differences she takes in to account when designing labels for clients.

Special thanks… to Liberty Wines for hosting Women in Wine LDN, to Charles Heidsick for donating their NV to our Champagne hour and to our panelists. Cheers!

Up Next... We have a social organised for Monday 15th August so make sure to get it in your diary. Location details will follow shortly. Please also watch this space for autumn events that are currently in the pipeline. 

What are we now...  In just a few short months we 135 women strong representing over 50 companies within the industry. Please do extend invitations to your colleagues, contacts and friends; it has been incredible to see this community take shape and we want it to continue to grow. 

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Michelle Cherutti MW
Wine Lecturer
Michelle is a Master of Wine and highly-respected wine lecturer, having taught at the WSET since 2004. She is a chair judge for the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and a frequent wine expert at major wine shows including Vinitaly, The London Wine Fair, The France Show and Taste of London.

Nicky Forrest
PR strategist

Nicky is one of the leading wine communicators in the UK and lectures at the WSET on PR and social media.  Her agency Phipps Relations is Drinks International agency of the Year 2015 and 2016 and has been Drinks Business PR agency of the Year twice in the last four years.  She has just planted her own micro vineyard in Kent.

Abigail Barlow

As Director of the award-winning creative agency, BD Creative, Abigail's portfolio includes a 2015 Drinks Business Award in Best Design and Packaging in Wine for 'The Wine Atlas' for ASDA. With 25 years experience, including brand management for Blossom Hill, retail for Oddbins and various buying roles, she really does know her way around a wine list. @BDCreativeUK