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Richard Siddle: memories of Wine Future 2011 Hong Kong

Published:  02 December, 2011

The old idiom a problem shared is a problem halved certainly came to mind whilst listening to, and taking part in, three days of Wine Future Hong Kong 2011 event last month. Near on 1,000 wine professionals from 45 different countries made the effort to fly to what has now been dubbed the wine capital of the world to hopefully take a few pearls of wisdom back to their home markets.

The old idiom a problem shared is a problem halved certainly came to mind whilst listening to, and taking part in, three days of Wine Future Hong Kong 2011 event last month. Near on 1,000 wine professionals from 45 different countries made the effort to fly to what has now been dubbed the wine capital of the world to hopefully take a few pearls of wisdom back to their home markets.

Wine Future was never going to wave a magic wand over issues such as the global financial crisis, over supply of wine and an increasingly commoditised wine market, but the lure of the likes of Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson MW and Michel Rolland was enough to make it a who's who of the international wine scene.

They say there is comfort in numbers and it was certainly reassuring, at least, to hear many of the issues we face in the UK being echoed by leading figures from key markets around the world.

One worrying area of agreement was that no-one, it seems, is doing a good job when it comes to marketing, talking to consumers about wine, or even understanding who the consumer is.

If we cannot find more effective ways to sell more wine then how can the industry go on to solve the more structural issues and fundamentals of wine production and distribution. After all where are we without a wine market to serve?

Harpers brought this key debate back home to the UK last month with an industry forum dedicated to better understanding consumer needs. Vitally it was organised with the consumer wine lobby group, WineOption, and invited guest speakers with a proven track record of connecting with consumers, purposefully picked from outside the wine trade.

We are keen to open this debate out to the industry and hear your views on how we can all work together and help market the sector better. If you would like to share any of your ideas and experiences on how best to engage with consumers then please email me at richard.siddle@wrbm.com.

And you won't need to travel to the other side of the world to do so either.

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