” Dear Caroline and the Wine-Divas,
If I said it a 100 times, I’ve said it a 1000 times: I do not believe in a big break, so to speak. I believe that life is a million small steps, none of them seemingly super significant but when you look back you’ve gained a lot of distance above sea level, without actually noticing it. But I might have to swallow my words this time. And so I thought you may be interested in the story of my recent trip to London.
About a month ago I entered BLANKbottle in a competition called WINE-STARS. It’s an international competition held at the London International Wine Fair (LIWF). Any winery who hadn’t yet had a distributer in the UK could enter. BLANKbottle was selected as a Top 20 finalist from over 200 entries worldwide. The only South African winery.
And that’s how I got the opportunity to present my wines outside the South African borders for the very first time, and no-less to the biggest and most recognised wine buyers in the UK! Anyhow after many hours of travelling from Somerset West to London, I made it through to the Top 10 and found myself standing in front of some of the world’s most influential wine gurus, without any business cards. I had to do a presentation to the judges in a sort of X-factor final at the London International Wine Fair, and they broadcasted it live on the Internet. I am not particularly someone who stresses in situations like these, but this time round I had such a churning in my stomach – and the more I stressed, the faster I spoke. You can see below for the YouTube links to both my pitch, as well as the judges’ response. Every finalist had only 3 minutes to pitch, which was followed by a 9 minute Q and A from the judges.
The outcome of the competition was not to choose winners, and for me it was definitely about having the awesome opportunity to share something that is dear to me with the rest of the world, while having a lot of fun. At the end of the presentations, the judges publicly committed (by a show of hands) which wineries they would list. BLANKbottle got 5 official votes out of 6, and we are in negotiations with the other one as well.
Sitting at Gatwick airport on my way home to South Africa after the WINE-STARS final, working my way through some 485 e-mails from BLANKbottle fans – old and new, I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes… This was the beginning of a new (British) adventure for BLANKbottle. I am very excited!
Link to my blog with whole story: BLANKbottle blog.
YouTube link to my 3 minute presentation: BLANKbottle presentation
YouTube link to the responses and Q and A for BLANKbottle
Pieter H. Walser for BLANKbottle