KWV’s Iron Curtain of Communication

The past decade or two has seen the KWV ringing in the changes, too many to mention in this whimsical blog. The KWV has always been a favourite target for Pinko wine commentators when requiring a scape-goat to refer to the bad old days when Apartheid and the Dop-system were as much a feature of the wine industry as Roodeberg and the Broederbond blend.
The KWV’s political baggage has never concerned me, nor the recent drive to position it as a go-getting international company purely concerned with making good wine and a profit. (Which of the two is more likely, is anyone’s guess.)
However, in the field of communication the current renaissance at La Concorde (KWV’s head-office) is ironical. Currently the KWV’s communication department reminds one of the gruff monosyllabic strategies employed by grey shoed State Bodies of the past. Whereas in the 1980’s, before the advent of Ch?+¦???+¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¬teau Mandela Freedom, the KWV had a proactive, lively and energetic communications department ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ far removed from the terse and backward way it does PR in 2009.
Those who remember the late Chris Swanepoel, as well as the way Arnold Kirkby and Cassie du Plessis handled communications can attest to this.
My first fault is the way queries are dealt with.
I recently made queries re the KWV’s consultant wine-advisers as well as to the very important relationship between the SA Wine Industry Trust and the Phetogo empowerment group, the latter making up just over of KWV shareholding.
Well, contacting the KWV’s communications honcho was like asking a nun to show you her G-string. Cold, terse, icy and evasive response.
One thing she did succeed in was getting me to not bother contacting the KWV in future.
Okay. So attitude and strategy sucks.
Then we get stupidity.
Just this week I received a bottle of the KWV’s very drinkable Caf+¬ Culture Pinotage. This is the number with the seductive hint of mocha, an very good drink indeed. I pulled the cork and sipped with gusto.
On Friday, however, I bump into a KWV media release about its new lifestyle range of wines. According to the brand manager, this range is sealed with a screwcap because “15%” of wine is affected by cork taint.
So how is this for stupid? KWV produces a wine ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ Caf+¬ Culture ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ as well as other ranges in cork, whilst being under the impression that 15% of these wines could be spoilt?
Of course, the 15% of wines affected by cork taint is complete bullshit, and this brand manager should do better homework.
But those allowing media releases to be distributed with incorrect facts which could harm other ranges under the own brand, need a refresher course in PR 101.

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3 thoughts on “KWV’s Iron Curtain of Communication

  1. Of course, the 15% of wines affected by cork taint is complete bullshit — yes, it is much higher!!

    Cork taint means more than TCA (corked) it is also the taint of the cork itself, that dirty flavor underneath that is missing in screwcapped wines.

    I’d have thought that Cafe Culture is an ideal candidate for screwcaps.

  2. Come on Tainted! The excess of cabbage and rubber aromas must have screwed your taste buds.

    Let’s face it boys: KWV has been a disaster in communication since the green pepper days and BEE deal. Unlike Distell, re-structuring after re-structuring hasn’t helped them to get into the right direction.

    Let’s hope that Thys and the newly appointed chief winemaker can finally deliver better wines and less arrogance.

  3. Tainted also has his facts wrong. KWV production Deep Throat informs cork faults less than 2% – at least 13% less that his/her assumption.

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