The Butterfly Effect
Every edition we ask John Mansfield of the Society of Vintners what’s happening in the world of wine. This issue his focus is on how a new wine is brought to market and how buying it can help others…
The Society of Vintners’ wine portfolio already has award-winning wines from around the globe. However, that doesn’t stop us from looking to develop the range to satisfy the changing needs of wine drinkers.
One recent example is Californian Zinfandel. Now for many wine connoisseurs, White Zinfandel is not a wine that stirs great interest. Despite its name, it is actually a rosé and many of the White Zifandels retailed are cloying, sticky and over sweet. This is real shame as a good Zinfandel will be served well chilled and offer flavours of strawberry, lemon, green melon and perhaps candy.
Our wine portfolio already includes some brilliant Californian wines, including our award-winning Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2014 (Drinks Business Silver Medal; Bronze in Decanter Wine Awards) and our Pinot Noir 2013. It won silver in the Texsom International Wine Awards 2017.
In 2017, when our members asked us to find a Californian Zinfandel rosé, we knew we had to source a wine with good fruit, good balance and just the right amount of sweetness. After shortlisting a number of candidates, followed by extensive tasting by members, we found just those characteristics in a wine from an existing supplier, Broadland Wineries.
Interestingly, the members opted for a wine with medium sweetness, which could almost be described as a traditional Zinfandel. We’re seeing some Californian wine-makers who are now producing dry White Zinfandel, more akin to the Provence-style rosé that has become popular in the UK in recent years. I mention this as a warning because not all Californian Zinfandel rosé is moderately sweet; and some consumers may indeed only like dry White Zinfandel. We’ll be keeping an eye on that development – so don’t be surprised to see yet another addition to our range in the future.
With the wine chosen, we then needed a name and logo for the bottle – and from the designs submitted we settled on ‘Out of America’ and a label that featured a lovely representation of a butterfly species frequently seen in California. And that would normally be the final act before launch.
However, it was suggested that it would be a good idea to tie it in to a butterfly charity. And five minutes later after Googling the suggestion, we found the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust – a small charity (and the only one in the UK) devoted to helping people suffering with this particular type of cancer butterfly.org.uk
I contacted the charity and spoke to the driving force behind it – Kate Farnell MBE. The news that we were going to support the charity made her day, which was lovely, as was the fact that the suppliers/bottlers of the wine also agreed to fund match our offer – thereby doubling the amount going to the charity.
Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust supports patients with Thyroid Cancer by:
• Use of a dedicated helpline to speak to someone who has had the disease
• Email and telephone contact with group members to share experiences
• A “buddy” to help patients through the stages of surgery, radioiodine treatment and follow up
• Access to reliable up-to-date written information about the disease
• Access to a group member in clinic at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC), Freeman Hospital