Launching a brand is how I imagine parenthood to be, you lay all the groundwork for the birth, but nothing can prepare you for the reality once it’s been born.
As any new parent would be, at Rathfinny we’re proud of our offspring and count ourselves super lucky with how the first five post-launch months have gone. We’ve brought into the world two beautiful sparkling wines that have been well received and have some fantastic trade partners to share them with.
Initially, we had an irrational fear that the expectation Rathfinny had generated over the years up until the launch might be tricky to live up to, but luckily, we had top journalists and trade figures saying, “wow, thank goodness I like it, it would have been awkward if not!”. Glowing write-ups abounded, which was also the case overseas.
You’ll have seen from Sarah’s post that we launched in Hong Kong in September, to such an incredibly warm reception. It helps that, from my perspective, Mark and Sarah know just about everyone in the country, but you could really feel a sense of excitement at Rathfinny’s arrival. There is still a job to promote the English wine category over there, but it’s thrilling to be a part of that movement so early on. I know Sarah also mentioned this, but massive thanks to our Hong Kong distributor, Jebsen, who are working hard to raise our profile over in Hong Kong.
So where are we now? Well, given the tiny volumes for the first year, stock is verging on being sold out, with customers such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Caprice Holdings, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and the Savoy clinging onto their fast-depleting stocks. We’re doing the same down at the Estate, by the end of Christmas it will be ‘adios’ to the sparkling wine until May 2019. Gulp…
On the plus side, we’ve just launched the brand-new vintage of our Cradle Valley white wine, the 2017. It’s a super-fresh, lean number that brims with lime and kiwi fruit and still retains that smooth peachy-creamy finish we love about the 2016. Delicious!
Aside from constantly taste-testing our wines, for research purposes, my focus as Brand Ambassador is securing our year-one partners again for next year and rolling us out nationally! It’s reassuring to be doing this in conjunction with our distributor, Gonzalez Byass, who have really become part of the family. We’ve worked out a slick way of working together, not unlike Joe and Diane’s fancy footwork on Strictly.
For fear of this post becoming like that irritating, annual circular letter, full of humble brags about offspring you’ve never clapped eyes on, I’ll try and dial down the gushiness. I will say that Martin, Melissa and the Gonzalez Byass team are helping shape our journey in the most collaborative and enthusiastic way. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it!
So, with sights set on the restaurants, hotels and wine merchants we’d like to work with next year, it’s all systems go. Though, I’m once again ‘getting creative’ describing two unfinished wines to busy Sommeliers who have to sit and listen to my description of the wines, without being able to taste them yet! Luckily for them, I like to talk, so there’s no shortage of descriptive terms.
In terms of what we have in store for next year, I can confirm that we will be launching the next vintage of our sparkling Rosé along with a Blanc de Noirs which, for that year only, will replace our Blanc de Blancs. In 2020 we’ll have the full range. I don’t have samples of next year’s wines yet, but I’ll be delighted to describe them to you in person if you come down and visit us at the Estate.