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Annals of Marketing
Are Heritage Wine Brands Worth Anything?
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012  - David Farmer

Australian wine has a very long and rich heritage which began with vineyard plantings in the Sydney Basin, spread to the Hunter Valley and had its greatest flowering in South Australia. I use the word 'had' as no one seems to care much about this history. The failure to nurture our great heritage brands is nothing short of astounding and to watch 'wanna be' marketing stars destroy one after the other saddens me.

This is what could have happened and these passages are from an article in the New York Times, November 8th, 2010, 'The Guardians of Heritage' by Robb Young.

As the archivist for Tiffany & Co. in New York, Ms. Sandecki can point to a simple set of the company's 150-year-old silver utensils lent to a local museum and convince reporters that it reflects American values. By painting a portrait of the self-made men and women who bought such tableware from Tiffany in the 19th century to establish themselves as people of substance, Ms. Sandecki anchors the brand at the heart of the popular imagination.

"Not only precise facts like Mademoiselle Chanel's routine of sitting on the fifth step from the top of the staircase to watch her fashion shows but also every garment in that scene of the show was actually selected by our archivists, making a progression of real Chanel outfits from 1916 to the present," explains Marie-Louise de Clermont-Tonnerre, who now acts as Chanel’s general manager for external relations.

One of the first things that Kim Winser did after she was appointed chief executive of Pringle of Scotland in 2000 was to hire a freelance archivist to create a presentation on the company’s nearly two centuries of history, a tool that Ms. Winser used often during her six years with the brand.

A dedicated Gucci section on Christies allows private collectors to upload photos of vintage items and make appraisal requests. Working with Christie’s experts, the Gucci archivist can certify authenticity and even invite owners to sell items directly to Gucci or during a Christie’s auction. Gucci’s chief executive, Patrizio di Marco, calls the service a "trusted venue for transactions of vintage Gucci items."

To my knowledge only Yalumba have an archivist and I wish they would use this collection more often and to their advisors who say it is irrelevant in the fast moving modern wine scene I say you are wrong.

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