It was sometime back in January that – working from kitchen tables, makeshift desks and even the odd garden room – the North South Wines’ team gathered over Teams to consider the months ahead.
“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” so the saying goes.
So, we unanimously agreement to go forth with vigor, whatever was in store.
Off to a good start
As it happens, it didn’t take long for things to get lively because we got stuck into several high-profile promotional campaigns early doors.
When we learnt we landed a joint venture between zero-alcohol sparkling Belle & Co. and Lay-Z-Spa for a summer long promotion, we popped a cork to celebrate!
We also brought Black Tower together with TV and social media star Vicky Pattinson and joined KWV up with barbeque company Big Green Egg for a competition with Good Housekeeping.
And an on-pack promotion saw Purato teaming up with La Tua Pasta.
But perhaps the initiative we’re most proud of is the La Gioiosa campaign.
We paired this joyful Prosecco up on social media with a host of high-profile brands such as Yvonne Ellen, Meringue Girl and Fentimanns.
La Gioiosa is now stocked in all the major supermarkets – bar one.
Partnerships mean products
It seems we’ll have plenty of opportunity to get our creative matter in gear from now on because – as the year matured – we celebrated adding new agencies to our producer line up including Entrecanales Domecq e Hijos (formerly Bodegas Palacio) and Ventisquero Wine Estates.
These new partnerships – and the fact that Montgras and some of our other longer-term brands have expanded their ranges recently – means our wine portfolio has grown in 2021.
We can’t wait to put our promotional prowess into practice for our new – and existing – brands in 2022.
Keep your eyes peeled in the media!
But it wasn’t just our wine producing partners that received a dose of promotional pizazz during 2021.
North South Wines did too.
Those who know us well may have noticed we launched a new brand identity and website in Spring, which helps us better express who we are, what we do and – critically – what we stand for.
In fact, you may have noticed our MD Kim turning up in the press and on social media more often recently, talking about “championing responsible business processes” and “doing the right thing, which might not be the easiest thing.”
That’s because running a profitable yet ethical business is something that’s close to our hearts – and we feel the need to shout about it.
But wanting to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, we gained ‘Agents and Brokers’ from BRC this year too.
This accreditation show the world that we uphold the highest standards of quality across every part of our business.
Poked and prodded
Of course, gaining accreditations is far from easy.
It inevitably involves being prodded, poked and scrutinised.
But it seems at North South Wines, we don’t mind that kind of thing.
Because as well as completing BRC this year, we also set out on our official journey to gaining BCorp – the biggest and most recognisable environmental global accreditation on the planet, for the planet.
In achieving it, we’ll join a club of elite businesses who are also willing to put themselves up for as much scrutiny as we are.
We’re really in the thick of things at the moment and are beavering away to make the grade in early 2022.
Watch this space for news.
True to word
Star studded marketing campaigns. Global accreditations. An expanding portfolio.
For a medium sized business, it could be said that we’ve been punching above our weight.
Despite it all, however, we’re always careful to stay true to our core values too.
Suffice to say, 2021 offered us plenty of chances to test our capacity for staying committed, being tenacious and courageous and demonstrating integrity in everything that we do.
Yet, perhaps hardest was upholding our value of collaboration.
Virtually as good
Thanks to the pandemic, social distancing meant many of our wine tasting events had to be cancelled. For our smaller, independently owned businesses that came as quite a blow.
Wine tasting events act as a vital lifeline for business owners as it helps them stay connected and informed. So, our virtual tasting program was established to help overcome this issue.
Although not a replacement for the real thing, these virtual sessions were an interactive way to showcase wines – some new some old favourites – in a relaxed environment with some food to enjoy them with.
We’re looking forward to hosting face to face events again in 2022.
Out on a high
Looking back, we entered 2021 like many others did: With a sense of trepidation.
Yet as the year unfolded, it became clear that the year was going to end with a bang!
And with our new chairman Jerry Lockspeiser on board – who joined us in September – we look forward to the new opportunities ahead that only fresh pair of eyes can bring to the business.
So, we’d like to end by thanking all our partners and suppliers for their continued support and to wish them – and everyone in the wine trade – a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Let’s make 2022 a good one – and above all a healthy one.