Aug 07 2009
The past decade or two has seen the KWV ringing in the changes, too many to mention in this whimsical blog. The KWV has always been a favourite target for Pinko wine commentators when requiring a scape-goat to refer to the bad old days when Apartheid and the Dop-system were as much a feature of the wine industry as Roodeberg and the Broederbond blend.
The KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s political baggage has never concerned me, nor the recent drive to position it as a go-getting international company purely concerned with making good wine and a profit. (Which of the two is more likely, is anyoneΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s guess.)
However, in the field of communication the current renaissance at La Concorde (KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s head-office) is ironical. Currently the KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s communication department reminds one of the gruff monosyllabic strategies employed by grey shoed State Bodies of the past. Whereas in the 1980Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s, before the advent of Ch╬ô├╢┬úΓö£Γöéteau Mandela Freedom, the KWV had a proactive, lively and energetic communications department Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ far removed from the terse and backward way it does PR in 2009.
Those who remember the late Chris Swanepoel, as well as the way Arnold Kirkby and Cassie du Plessis handled communications can attest to this.
My first fault is the way queries are dealt with.
I recently made queries re the KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s consultant wine-advisers as well as to the very important relationship between the SA Wine Industry Trust and the Phetogo empowerment group, the latter making up just over of KWV shareholding.
Well, contacting the KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s communications honcho was like asking a nun to show you her G-string. Cold, terse, icy and evasive response.
One thing she did succeed in was getting me to not bother contacting the KWV in future.
Okay. So attitude and strategy sucks.
Then we get stupidity.
Just this week I received a bottle of the KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s very drinkable Caf╬ô├╢┬ú╬ô├«├ë Culture Pinotage. This is the number with the seductive hint of mocha, an very good drink indeed. I pulled the cork and sipped with gusto.
On Friday, however, I bump into a KWV media release about its new lifestyle range of wines. According to the brand manager, this range is sealed with a screwcap because Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║15%Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ of wine is affected by cork taint.
So how is this for stupid? KWV produces a wine Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ Caf╬ô├╢┬ú╬ô├«├ë Culture Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ as well as other ranges in cork, whilst being under the impression that 15% of these wines could be spoilt?
Of course, the 15% of wines affected by cork taint is complete bullshit, and this brand manager should do better homework.
But those allowing media releases to be distributed with incorrect facts which could harm other ranges under the own brand, need a refresher course in PR 101.