Wine Freedom - Vinfrihet

Raising a toast to a more competitive wine market

Archive for March, 2010

32Postcards – a living history

Monday, March 29th, 2010

By the time many of us had the maturity to want to know more about our parent’s past they were no longer around to do so. When your parents lived through a horror such as the Holocaust, persecution in Chile or China or the winter wars of Finland, their history lives over the family like a cloud and often the full story is never able to be told.

When a good friend and author found a series of postcards his German-born father had sent and received in 1940 and 1941 to his family  and friends back in Germany (he had escaped to Sweden from the camps in Germany) he was like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.

These postcards transported Torkel S. Wächter back in time to his father’s life and the opportunity to answer the questions that had lingered in his mind both before and certainly after his father’s passing. Answering questions of the past can help understand the present, who we are and for our children to know the family in which they are part of.

Today Torkel has released a remarkable publication. Not a best selling book like his two previous projects, but a website that presents and explains his father’s remarkable story.

www.32postkarten.com

From today (coincidentally the eve of the first day of the Passover festival when the Jews fled as slaves from Egypt) until the end of the year, the website will release the postcards on the same date they were written 70 years ago.

Every survivor has a story worth telling. Few get the chance, even fewer get to have it presented in this intelligent, beautiful and insightful way that will live over this year and for many years to come. Walter Wächter’s story will live with you for 2010 and for many years to come and remind us of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the power of the will to survive.

Do read this living history, it will live with you.

Mark

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Taste, hold fire, chew, taste again – pow!

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Friday dinner is special for our family so I always take out a bottle befitting my wife’s lovingly and expertly prepared meal. Last night I continued my journey through the equisitely made cool climate Italian wines from Alto Adige from Elena Walch. Her Pinot Biano Kastelaz was the highlight of dinner last week with friends and last night the not well known grape of Lagrein made its debut.

At first I thought it was slightly corked, then perhaps too warm or maybe just not my cup of tea (so to speak). Then out came the food and hearing my own advice echo through my mind I reserved judgement until the wine and food finally married in my mouth.

The coupling was superb. The violets blossomed, the tannins disappeared and the meat found its life long partner (albeit a short lived but glorious life on my plate).

Elena’s Pinot Nero is the best Italian Pinot Noir I have experienced, the Chardonnay a symphony of elegant fruit and restrained oak and the Pinot Bianco white has dispelled my despair over the quality of Italian white wines.

James fell in love with Elena’s wines and then met her at ProWien fair last week and I am sure the romance is continuing. So both Australian Wine Club and Fine Wine Society have a wide range of her wines on offer and my challenge is to taste them all again with food and take part in this vinum romance.

Cheers

Mark

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Billys Pan Pizza – nej tack

Friday, March 26th, 2010

We are no stranger to provoking and stimulating comment but it is not always what you expect that creates the most response. In the summer I wrote about strong reaction to putting rose wines in red wine boxes. Ouch, we learned a lesson there:  rose is a white wine even though it is made from red grapes, according to some of our customers.

Yesterday we marketed our extremely exclusive Sommeliers’ Favourite collection of 12 of the very very best wines, at a price that is above what our customers normally spend. Our web editor Lina Hansson came up with a smart way to highlight that “you get what you pay for and sometimes it is worth paying more for something excellent”. She used the comparison between Billy’s Pan Pizza and a handmade stoneoven based pizza. Smart we thought. Attention grabbing, yep! See the newsletter here: Click or the image on the Australian Wine Club home page.

Without reading the text and just reacting to the pizza image quite a few people responded quickly and negatively in emails to us and their friends and unsubsribed as members. None were customers, we are sure our customers take more time to read before criticising!

Billy’s Pan Pizza goes well with Lådvin Bag in Box. Maybe this is a reaction to that perhaps?

Have a great weekend! Lots of good wine and food in store for me this weekend.

Mark

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Inside Svensson’s head

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Thank you to a reader who armed with training and experience as a psychologist has given some insight into the Swedish relationship with famous people:

“People in sweden do have problems to handle fame and seeing famous people. If you have been on TV they will, neurotically, assume that you want to be reoognised for that and for that reason they will absolutely not  recognise you.

That’s because you shouldn´t get the idea that you are special just because you have been on TV. But because they think you are special since you have been on TV, you don´t have to do anything, the drama about you will all take place in their head.

They do not want you to know that they are thinking about you so they will pretend to not recognize you, so you will not suspect that they are thinking about you a whole lot.

What would Shakespeare have written about that, somethin like “Muck Ado about nothing!

Not that I pretend or hope to be famous, quite the opposite. But now I know, everyone who ignores me really recognises me and is thinking about me. Those people who do recognise me and say hello are either just crazy or don’t really know me. Right?

Cheers and thanks for this insight Mr. K.

Mark

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Ingore me please

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

You may or may not have seen my face plastered around town lately as part of our Change Lådvin 2010 campaign and it has had a remarkable impact on how people react to me in the street and on the T-bana.

Previously people would treat me like anyone else, just ignore me, look through me as though I did not exist. Unlike in Italy or France where people checked you out and made eye contact with you.

Since our controversial campaign against Bag in Box wine which makes up for 60% of wine sold in Sweden, I feel I have offended a lot of people, perhaps more than 60%.

My reasoning for this asusmption is that now people ignore me even more than before (is that possible, you ask?). Today on the pendeltåg a parent from our daughter’s football team whom we see every week, looked right at me and did not respond to my smile. Is she a disgruntled bag in box drinker?

Then I walked in to a women’s clothes store to buy a present for my wife and the only other person in the store was the sales assistant and she ignored me too.

Someone I sat opposite on the t-bana was 5 minutes later also sitting opposite me on the pendeltåg so I smiled at them too. When they reached for their phone I thought they were going to call the psychiatric helpline to have me reported for unwarranted friendliness but alas it was just a distraction to avoid me, ignore me, act as though I do not exist.

Gee, these bag in box drinkers are everywhere in Stockholm and must be pretty annoyed with me. How long can I bear being ignored like this?

Cheers! hello, I said cheers….any reply?

Mark

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How does the home delivery work?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

We have had a lot of questions about how the actual delivery of the wine works so we have created this simple film to describe it. We are very ingenious at Australian Wine Club making use of what we have!

Click to watch the film here.

Hop to it boing boing….If you have any questions just ask!

Cheers

Mark

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Apple rarely falls far from the tree

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I received a very interesting comment on my last posting, about children learning from their parents. …”I mean what do you expect from kids, when the Parents themselves have been bought up with no manners, or standards!” wrote Hones.

Obviously children are greatly influenced by their parents and the society in which they live. Parents who are polite, social, teach their children manners and lead by example are less likely to have offspring who end up working at On Off!

Search You Tube for Bag in Box and you may as well write Sverige in their too as it is predomiantly Swedes who contribute videos of them getting drunk, jumping on and singing / rapping about this Swedish cultural icon. Since Systembolaget started providing financial incentives to purchase wine in a plastic bag instead of a box it has swamped wine culture and is starting to do the same for our society in general.

Do parents consider the example they are setting when they opt for quantity of alcohol over quality? Will they discourage their children at age 20 to buy 3L boxes of vodka on the Finland ferries?

Bag in Box may be lagom but what lesson do we give our children about how to appreciate and consume alcohol responsibly?

There are two interesting vidoes on my Change Lådvin 2010 blog worth watching: www.lådvin.nu

I agree with you Honest, as parents we have an obligation to set a good example in many ways, all ways in fact!

cheers

Mark

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Book a time for service

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

When I studied at Stockholm University I was exposed to the telephone time concept. If you wanted to talk to a teacher you had to only call during certain times and visit them during certain times.  Even if they were in their office with the door open you could not knock and talk to them if it was not visiting time (I thought about standing outside their office and calling them during telephone time though!).

More and more retail stores are taking the same concept to an alarmingly new dimension.

If I walk into a store it is because I want personal service, otherwise I will buy online. Many electronics stores have such terrible service (I will NEVER shop at On Off ) and instead of hiring and training sales people they are now making us book a time with them.

Book personal service?This photo is taken at an upmarket electronics store but many others also now offer the service of personal service – all you have to do it book a time!

Service is seems is not something we can take for granted, we need to book it in advance…….wrong thinking think I.

In Australia they have someone packing your groceries into bags or they have the cashier do it at the same time as they scan it. Not in Sweden. Why not?

What else can we not take for granted when we are trying to spend our hard earned money? Will we be charged an entrance fee to enter a store?

Cheers!

Mark

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Lådvin campaign goes to Malmö and Göteborg….oops not Göteborg

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

We had a great response to the Stockholm poster campaign for Change Lådvin 2010 and now we are taking it South and to the front side of Sweden, Göteborg.

Last week we put up the posters around Stockholm and took them down again on Monday (what was left after the posters were souveniered). Last night we put the posters up around Malmö and Göteborg but the local men in blue did not totally agree with our campaign!

Sorry Gothenburg you are saved having my face dotted around your beautiful city but we hope this does not impact your enthusiasm for the Change Lådvin 2010 campaign.

To a better Swedish Wine Culture!

Mark

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Schlagerfest vs Vinfest

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Enjoying the right wine to the right occasion I asked Jimmy what one drank while watching Melodifestivalen. After the laughter and scoffing it came as no surprise he had no advice and would rather go to a Simply Red concert than watch the show.

With two children literally counting down the hours to watch the final last night (an impetus Jimmy lacks) we settled down in front of the computer plugged into the stereo to watch SVT-Play.

I had prepared a special meal to celebrate our anniversary with the choice of wine and food contributing to my pondering over what would be left to drink while the has-beens, wanna be’s and almost were of Swedish music (and acting, Dolf) stand in front of the fan or under shower and sing.

My daugther had given us summaries of all the final entries and we had heard most of them 1000 times on Spotify during the past 6 weeks so I had a good idea what the music would be like and hence what wine to serve:

Option 1: Overly sweet, unbalanced with no after taste (with an attractive label) and vintage 2010 jumped to mind as the perfect match for some of the songs.

Option 2: An older wine with character, good body, sweet ripe fruit missing some high notes but at its best- drunk-by date a few years ago, could match some others.

Option 3: A family favourite Salem, would match a delicious shiraz from a rising star New World winemaker full of character and its best years ahead of it (if not really drinking at its best right now).

In the end I chose a 2008 Pinot Noir from Mt. Difficulty, one of New Zealand’s absolute best wines. It was young, bright fruit, balanced tannis and a lot more body for its age. It will drink better in three to four years but it was fun to drink now and anticipate its potential development.  It matched perfectly to the winner, 18-year old Anna Bergendahl.

Evening saved and the right wine matched to the right song, phew!

cheers

Mark

http://svt.se/melodifestivalen

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