SA Chenin impresses USA bloggers

Monday, 5 August, 2013
Doug Carew
South African Chenin Blanc impressed at the annual Wine Bloggers Conference 2013, which was held in Penticton, British Columbia and attracted an estimated 300 influencers from across the social media spectrum in the US and Canada.

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) partnered with the Wine Bloggers Conference to build awareness of Chenin Blanc in North America, by hosting “The Secrets of Chenin Blanc”.

The seminar was presented by Courtney Luick, the Communications Manager of Cape Classics – the New York based wine importer founded by South Africa-born Andre Shearer in 1992 and which represents 17 of South Africa's finest estates and labels.

“While Chenin Blanc continues to gain traction in the US, the varietal still remains largely under-the-radar in North America, so the seminar provided a focused opportunity to engage with the wine blogging community, and demonstrate Chenin Blanc’s versatility and South Africa’s stance as a strong wine producing nation,” said Luick.

Topics included the region’s 350 year winemaking history, unique terroir and progressive sustainability initiatives. A comparative tasting of Chenin Blanc’s myriad of styles, from un-oaked to barrel-aged to noble late harvest, followed with bottlings from producers including DeMorgenzon, Indaba, Ken Forrester and Raats Family Wines.

The activation at the Wine Bloggers Conference is just one of a number of Cape Classics marketing initiatives aimed at boosting Chenin Blanc in the US - Cape Classics began a nationwide marketing campaign in 2012 to build awareness of Chenin Blanc and has established itself as the first organisation to create a focused South African Chenin Blanc program for consumers.

The Wine Bloggers Conference is an annual meeting of citizen wine bloggers, industry bloggers and other wine and social media professionals who gather to learn and share perspective on the state of the wine industry.

At a typical conference, attendees write hundreds of blog posts and Tweet approximately 20 000 times, with a reach of 50 million impressions. The annual American Wine Blog Awards are also held during the conference, recognizing excellence in new media.

“I was thrilled with the positive and inquisitive response from the crowd,” said Luick. “Bloggers have a strong influence on the buying decisions of consumers, and if you can grab and hold their interest, it’s proof you’ve got something valuable to their readers in hand.”