Wine Review: Grgich Hills 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Here’s an interesting question about the wine business, which has largely remained unchanged for 7,000 years:

How did these firms [wineries] achieve the benefits often associated with disruptive innovation in an industry in which the technology has remained largely unchanged for millenniums?

A new article about disruptive innovation, What the Wine Industry Understands About Connecting with Consumers, in HBR suggests there are three main techniques that have been used to drive the industry forward — one that, as of 2018, is worth about $60 billion here in the U.S.:

  • Envision something extraordinary
  • Mobilize those with influence
  • Let consumers react and share

As authors Gregory Carpenter and Ashley Humphreys suggest it’s essentially about a journey, “from learning to educating.” That’s especially true they say for products that, like wine, are complex.

Their takeaways are apparently the result of 58 interviews which resulted in 2,300 (!) pages of notes (documents, photos, transcripts, etc.).

Carpenter and Humphreys demonstrate that the wine buying process is the result of a chain reaction; one that flows from producer to critic, to retailers and sommeliers, and, ultimately, to consumers — and then to their friends and family.

If you’re at all interested in the wine industry the relatively short article is an interesting and quick read, if not entirely comprehensive.

They don’t learn from the people who buy wine — they team them.

Being based in Silicon Valley things are always rapidly changing — and isn’t it interesting, the juxtaposition of the tornado that is the world of tech in the Bay Area with the relatively unchanged agricultural wine business just hours to the North. Disruption is the norm. And where there’s quantum change, there’s opportunity. Hence: ride sharing, the gig economy, AirBnbs of the world, AR/VR, etc. But wine? Essentially fermented juice that is made the same (for the most part, of course there has been many vineyard innovations, especially in the past 20 years) for thousands of years? Well, that is an interesting premise. You can not, the report concludes, merely respond to consumers. Instead: ” Those that shape markets using social influence and education can endure.”

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear