Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

For the last couple of months I have been hinting in my posts about something new coming to Castro Martin – and finally it’s here – a new label!

A label? Is that all? So why all the fuss? I hear you ask. Well, the answer is quite simple –  the fuss is because this is something of an historic change.

The very first, and original brand of the new era (since the current bodega was built in 1981), is Casal Caeiro, created by Angela’s father some 35 years ago. (The Martin Family had been making albariño long before this, but mainly for local consumption, without labels, before labels were a legal requirement). Since it’s inception the Casal Caeiro label has slowly evolved and appeared in many different guises, but until now they have always had one thing in common – the Pazo vineyard had always appeared on the label.

In a break with tradition we decided to employ the services of local artist Elena Gomez Dahlgren to come up with something different (and original), and I think that her new design idea is both unique and spectacular. A quadriptych – a set of four labels that when displayed side-by-side join to form one larger picture.

The new 2016 vintage, using this presentation, is available from this week (albeit that our website will take a little time to catch up). New photos already appear on our webpages, and updated fiche and bottle shots are also available. In addition to this, we will eventually add more information about the inspiration behind the design, and also about our artist, but in the meantime you will simply need to buy some wine to see this work of art first hand. Oh, and by the way, you will need to buy at least four bottles to see the complete design!

A to ZWell, you learn something new every day as they say, but only recently did I discover that Castro Martin actually has something in common with one of the largest companies on the planet!

One of our most Frequently Asked Questions is about the logo/name of one of our brands – A2O, and to be honest I feel just a little embarrassed when I have to explain it’s origin…. but not any more. It seems that the logic behind it (if you can call it logic) is shared with one of my most frequently used websites, Amazon. Please allow me to explain.

The name A2O quite simply comes from the word AlbariñO, which starts with the letter A and ends with the letter O, in other words from A to O (and we have simply substituted the word ‘to’ with the number two, and given it an accent to add a bit of a Spanish flavour). So that’s the story – clear as mud, I’m sure you’ll agree!

OK, so what about Amazon you ask, and where’s the similarity? Well, did you ever notice the arrow in their logo that underscores the name? Do you know why it’s there? I didn’t. If you look at the placement of the arrow it actually points from the A to the Z, and yes, you may have guessed already – the implication is quite simply that AmaZon stocks everything from A to Z (or should that be A2Z?!)

I have to admit that knowing this makes me feel a whole lot better, and it goes without saying that the next time someone asks about A2O, I will also make a point of explaining our very tenuous link with Amazon.

Albariño + MeatToday is May the Fourth, which, as you may know, holds a special significance for Star Wars fans – indeed one UK TV channel is running a Star Wars marathon, showing every film ever made, back-to-back. And so, if you still don’t understand the significance of today’s date, then please don’t expect me to explain it any further.

However, the real reason that I wanted to make today’s post was simply to include an image of the second of our new Denomination campaign adverts. As I said last week, I think they look great, and certainly represent an improvement as to how we might be perceived out there in the big wide world of wine. Good work boys (and girls)!

Albariño + SushiIn recent years I have perhaps been a little outspoken, even critical, of some of the advertising campaigns of our denomination. I have always thought that they were a little bit staid and old fashioned, often not representative of our region, and certainly not attention grabbing. For me the whole point of advertising is to grab the attention of the public – of course this can be done in many, many different ways, whether it be something stunningly beautiful, something unusual, something that makes you look twice (a double-take), or as used in a few cases, something controversial or shocking. Whatever approach you chose it has be done to provoke a reaction – to get people talking, if it’s to be successful. I’m afraid that a simple picture of a vineyard with lots of greenery simply doesn’t cut it anymore, even if the view is very pretty.

I was therefore delight to spot some radically new Rias Baixas advertising a month or so ago, with some attention grabbing food shots, and a simple bold headline. I have found two examples so far, there may be more to come. Today’s photo is the Japanese sushi (and nigiri) shot, which as I type this, is actually making my mouth water….. in other words having the desired effect – provoking a reaction. Creating a craving for a glass of fresh, chilled albariño – simple but effective.

There is however one small nagging doubt that I have – is this advert politically correct? Abbreviating the word Japanese to Japo, might just be considered offensive to some. Now I am not a native Spanish speaker, but in the one Spanish dictionary that I referred to, the term “Jap” was listed as “offensive”. I guess the best answer might come from the Japanese themselves, as I’m sure that eventually this new advertising will filter over to their country. I just hope that it doesn’t cause some sort of diplomatic incident!

How to make wine

August 24th, 2014

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VimeoOur local D.O. office has just commissioned this short cartoon/video which is very nicely done – condensing our region’s wine making process into a brief story of only 2 minutes and 45 seconds (if only the real process were so simple). The only downside is that, at the moment, it is only available in Spanish, and so in the coming days I will try to find out if they are going to make an English version. The simple visuals might help you, even if you don’t speaka da lingo perfectimundo….. like what I do!

You can either click HERE to see the video, or alternatively go to the YouTube page on our website, where it is listed together with some other fun and informative shorts.

Guiness MarshmallowsMonday 17th March is St Patrick’s Day, and no doubt will be celebrated around the world with the consumption of millions of pints of Guiness – indeed, I might even enjoy a can of the black stuff myself, as I always have one or two chilling in my fridge. Of course, it won’t be the same as drinking one in the spectacular Gravity Bar at the Storehouse overlooking Dublin, but at least, owing to the ingenious ‘floating widget’ system in the can, I will have a good ‘creamy’ head on my pint. (It’s all to do with dissolved Nitrogen that produces much smaller bubbles in the beer when opened).

Anyway, today’s post is not really about beer, but is actually about marshmallows! If you can’t sneak a beer into your office to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Monday, then as an alternative you could simply enjoy Guiness in the form of a marshmallow instead – sweetened with vanilla extract and then rolled in a coating of crushed pretzel! Sounds delicious…… I don’t think. Of course I haven’t tasted them, so I could be completely wrong, but of all the foods that you could flavour with Guiness, then marshmallow would probably not be at the top of my list. I have however, been known to open the odd can to add flavour my beef casseroles or steak pie. Indeed, the last time that I used Guiness for cooking I found myself finishing off the remnants of the can at 8 o’clock in the morning. I just don’t like to see good beer go to waste – at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Posted in Fiestas, Marketing

Fairtrade fortnight

February 25th, 2014

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Fairtrade‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ runs from 24th February until 9th March – but what exactly is the meaning of Fairtrade? A definition from the official website says “Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world”. A very reasonable premise that deserves our full support. Of course no one, in any country, wants to see workers being exploited, especially when they have no means of fair representation or redress, but I still can’t help but think that the fair trade concept should apply globally, and not only in developing nations. For example, even here, in the so-called mature western economies, farmers and their workers at the very sharp end of our supply chains are still sometimes exploited. We hear stories of dairy farmers being forced to the brink of bankruptcy by having their milk prices continually squeezed by large retail chains – surely this should not be considered as a fair way to do our trade?

Here in the Rias Baixas wine denomination we are always very conscious of our obligation to pay grape growers a fair price, enough to cover their costs and to provide them with a decent living. Unfortunately, during a period of deep recession, we continuously face strong downward pressure on our prices, and inevitably it becomes a fight for survival at almost every level of the supply chain. In the last couple of years I think I am correct in saying that our denomination has lost as many as 40 or 50 of the original 200 wine cellars. Some might say that this is a form of ‘natural selection’ where only the strong have survived, but the sad fact is that there are still many honest, hard-working Galicians (perhaps grape suppliers to the failed bodegas), who will now be struggling to make ends meet. We are also hearing tales of some grape suppliers that are being paid two or three vintages in arrears, or perhaps not at all – hardly an example of ‘fair trade’.

So when we are asked, or even expected to lower our prices in order to compete, then unfortunately, we run the risk of this knock-on effect. Everyone, at every level is being squeezed. Please don’t get me wrong, at Castro Martin we wholeheartedly support the concept of Fairtrade, but I am simply asking the question – where and when does fair trade begin, and at what border does it (or should it) end? 

Puerta-del-SolOne of the greatest ever marketing coups in Spanish history has to be the “tradition” of eating grapes for good luck at New Year. The idea is that at midnight on 31st December as the clock strikes midnight Spaniards eat a grape with each chime of the clock – 12 per person (which is actually not as easy as it might sound). With a population of 47 million, this equates to some 564 million grapes, or a good few kilos!

And the origin of this “tradition”?  Alicante. Started in 1909 when  grape farmers needed a way to dispose profitably of the surplus grapes from that year’s unexpectedly large harvest. Since then the 12-grape custom is now observed by almost everyone in Spain, not to mention several other South American countries. Being brutally honest, this means that the whole custom is probably no more than a bit of a scam and the claim of bringing luck has no real foundation whatsoever!

This being the case I have decided to create an alternative New Year’s tradition. In future it should be considered extremely lucky to take a sip of albariño with each of the 12 chimes of midnight. The difference is that this is completely true – it’s going to be extremely lucky……. for all albariño producers!

Oh, and by the way, a very happy New Year to one and all.

Video4On our website we have a few different videos, including a rather good interview with Angela, made for a local TV channel. The problem is that the interview was conducted entirely in Spanish, and so if you don’t speak the lingo, all that’s left is for you to look at the pretty pictures. Originally, I did have the idea of adding subtitles, which is perfectly feasable, but when I took into consideration the amount of work, compounded by the speed at which Angela speaks, well, I simply abandoned the project.

Since then I have often thought that we should add something similar in English, and so that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have made a short video introducing the bodega, the region (with an emphasis on the Atlantic Ocean) and our vineyards. Indeed, there is quite a nice sequence filmed in our picturesque ‘Pazo’ vineyard, made shortly before this year’s harvest  (and just before the last minute rain storms arrived). From memory I think this is the first film that we’ve ever made in this vineyard, so it’s certainly worth taking a look. As for the interview? It’s short, sweet and to the point, falling far short of Andy Wahol’s suggestion of 15 minutes…… so if you have an odd couple of minutes to spare then why not take a look? (Click the You Tube menu)

Albariño Day PartyIt was only quite recently that I discovered the existence of Albariño Day….. This could be because it was not the invention of our local Denomination office, but rather was created by an American marketing company to coincide with an albariño tasting in Chicago, held on 9th May last year. I’m afraid that there’s no romantic story or special historical significance attached to this date – just the tasting, which for me at least, is just a little disappointing. Looking back at the brief history of the D.O. Rias Baixas I feel sure that there must be at least one or two notable dates that would have perhaps provided a better excuse for a celebration. Having said that we should probably just be grateful that someone has made the effort and wants to dedicate this day and pay homage to our wonderful wines. I raise my glass to you!

As far as I am aware Albariño Day is only celebrated in the United States, albeit that there is definitely the potential to extend this into a worldwide event. Certainly it is my intention to join in next year, and I for one, will be mailing my customers around the world with ideas and materials to help promote the day (and sell them more wine). I’m afraid that my relatively late discovery of the date left me insufficient time to organise myself for the 2013 event. So I guess that we will just have to sit quietly at home, pull a cork, and observe the day in our own humble way….. until next year!

Posted in Fiestas, Marketing

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