Interview: Steve Meckiff
‘Jacob’s Creek is now available in 187ml bottles’
Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate wines from Pernod Ricard’s premium wine brands have been available in India for while now. Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador – Australia, Premium Wine Brands, Pernod Ricard was in the country recently; we spoke to him about why India is such an important market for them.
How important is India as a market for Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate?
India is an incredibly important market for both portfolios of Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate, part of Premium Wine Brands. Both Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate offer different types and styles of wine already being enjoyed in India and this enjoyment, consistency of high quality wine, brand loyalty and reliability are some of the reasons why Jacob’s Creek is the number one imported wine in India. India is a developing market on a global scale and continues to show an ongoing consumer interest and high engagement with drinking wine.
According to you, what has been the evolution in the Indian wine market?
For me, the evolution in the wine market has been led by the consumer. Wine is increasingly viewed as the drink of choice in a historically beer and spirits dominated drinking culture. Wine is not a drink trend but more of a lifestyle choice and should not been seen as a confronting choice. Wine is to be enjoyed and for those who experience wine for the first time, Jacob’s Creek provides high quality and contemporary style of Australian wine that is true to the variety and character of the wine. It’s a great tasting experience and one that has customers returning for more experiences. Wine is a journey and we all start somewhere.
What are the biggest challenges in the Indian market?
From my observations, some of the challenges currently facing imported wines are the individual state laws and taxes which directly affect the affordability of wine however over time these will be resolved and improved. Another is the understanding of wine and food matching. It’s quite simple. Both food and wine are personal experiences and openly subjective so the best solution is to just try and if you like it, enjoy it. Each grape variety and resulting wine provides a different experience and taste. That’s what makes wine so special.
Which is the one wine from Pernod Ricard’s portfolio that you would love to introduce in India now and why?
As the thirst and taste for wine continue to grow in the marketplace, more and more wines from within the portfolio will become available. Jacob’s Creek has been part of the Indian market now for 10 years so it’s a step process. The Reserve range of wines has been received very well where we take a single variety from a single region and we see this variety as expressing the best it can be, showing its true character and is an affordable premium wine choice.
An exciting innovation with Jacob’s Creek is that it is now available in 187ml bottles. This innovation allows for the consumer to receive a ‘perfect’ serve of wine in a bottle that when opened is fresh and this removes the issue of wine being served from a flat bottle that had been opened days before as this may taint the wine experience, so we have made steps to fill this gap. This also caters for the warmer climate of India and is a perfect solution to mini bars.
Could you throw some light on how different the wine markets of China and India are?
Both these markets are incredibly exciting and for similar reasons. The thirst for wine knowledge and the enthusiasm for wine drinking and appreciation is really encouraging to see, especially from first-hand experience. Wine education continues to play a significant role in the development of these markets. The complex areas of distribution and state laws will always set global markets apart but one underlining factor I have consistently observed was the enjoyment of Jacob’s Creek. The fact that customers can reach for a bottle in all corners of the globe and know that they are purchasing a high quality, great tasting and consistent wine that won’t disappoint them, their friends or the family never fails to bring a smile to my face.