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The International Wine Industry
Sherry - a Seven Century Epic of Sales
Tuesday, 18th July, 2006  - David Farmer

Imagine a business that is in its seventh century of trade between two customers. That is the sherry trade between Spain and Britain. Reading Julian Jeffs wine classic 'Sherry' provides insights into keeping any marketable product relevant.

How do you over come an unexpected event that can have grave consequences to your products appeal and market position? Consider this example.

The popularity of sherry boomed through the middle nineteenth century in Britain. With the death of Prince Albert in 1861 entertainment by the Royal household almost stopped yet by some over sight purchasing of sherry continued. When Queen Victoria died in 1901 the new king decided to sell the overstocked sherry from the Royal cellars. This amounted to some 5000 dozen.

The consequence was disastrous as by the end of the five day sale those who drank sherry came to the conclusion that the Royal court no longer drank sherry making it unfashionable and sales rapidly declined. Alas Jeffs offers no comments about how you recover from such set backs.

Jeffs book is full of numerous marketing and sales gems and led me to write a review, not as an article about how to enjoy sherry, but around the insight it provides into the sudden traps the market reveals and the equally sudden opportunities it in turn can bring. This review is at What Can You Learn from Seven Centuries of Trade.

While Jeffs gives no answers the long history of the sherry trade wonderfully illustrates that you must be prepared for a sudden turn of events.

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