- Gerson Lehrman Group
- Vintech Pacific Wine Technologies
- Wine NZ Magazine
- Wine Trade Online
- Northridge Country Lodge
- Valerian Khubulava
- Australian Gourmet Traveller
- Fine Wine Online
- Via Pacifica Imports
Gerson Lehrman Group
Project: Wine Industry Consulting
GLG is a knowledge brokerage firm that operates a membership-based platform of experts who provide independent consulting services to companies around the world. It is headquartered in New York City with regional hubs across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.
Colin Ford is a GLG Council Member and provides independent New Zealand wine industry analysis and expertise to GLG clients from around the world.
Vintech Pacific Wine Technologies
Project: Business Development, Phoenix Barrel Rejuvenation
Vintech Pacific is a New Zealand-based company providing a range of new technology processes to the wine industry.
The mobile technical services available include STARS Tartrate Removal by electro-dialysis, Rotary Drum Vacuum Filtration, MEMSTAR Reverse Osmosis, Ozone Sanitation, Flash Pasteurisation, Crossflow Filtration, STS 45 Centrifuges, Juice Flotation Units, Ultra Filtration, Alcohol Distillation plus Phoenix Barrel Rejuvenation and Barrel Leasing.
The company is administered from Gisborne and has regional offices in Auckland, Napier, Blenheim and Cromwell.
Wine NZ Magazine
Project: Wine Writing
Wine NZ is a high-quality, glossy, quarterly wine publication for the consumer, featuring news, new releases from New Zealand’s wine producers and editorial content focussing on this country’s wine and food lifestyle.
Prior to each edition, former editor Martin Gillion compiled wines on a particular theme, often a featured variety. A panel of experienced tasters, generally from within the wine industry, then put the line-up through their paces. The wines were tasted blind and reviewed with an eye toward selecting wines readers would really enjoy.
From 2004 until 2014, Winework Solutions’ Colin Ford was a regular panellist, bringing his formal tasting expertise gained over many years of professional tasting, as an Associate Judge at the Royal Easter Wine Show and through his involvement in the Institute of Masters of Wine Education Program.
Between 2006 and 2014, Colin compiled the panellist’s tasting notes for each of the wines in the feature tastings for the magazine and wrote an overview of each tasting, which was published alongside.
Its features include online ordering for the licensed trade, sales force mobilisation, digital asset management and e-marketing with a wide range of other facilities and services available that are sophisticated yet easy to use.
Suppliers can see exactly what they will get before making any commitment to join. The complicated, drawn-out, costly process of starting e-business from scratch is eliminated.
Suppliers joining Wine Trade Online are generally up and running within a fortnight and at a fraction of the cost of going it alone.
Being Internet based means Wine Trade Online is really easy to use and does not require any expensive or complicated proprietary software.
Consumers too can use Wine Trade Online as a source of free product information, as a retail price guide and much more, for an ever-increasing range of hundreds of wine, beer, spirit and liqueur brands.
For businesses selling to restaurants, liquor stores, bars, hotels, caterers or direct marketers, Wine Trade Online offers a new, additional sales channel that is accessible to every business in New Zealand’s Licensed Trade. WTO service all main centres and outlying regions too, efficiently and effectively.
For businesses that buy wine, beer, spirits or food supplies, Wine Trade Online provides the convenience of ordering in your own time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The product range includes the best and strongest market leading brands at the same price as buying direct from the producer or importer.
More than that, there is free access to an extensive library of downloadable product information, labels, logos, product shots and sales training material.
Australian Gourmet Traveller
Project: Product Launches & Tastings
In December 2000, Winework Solutions coordinated a major tasting of New Zealand Riesling and Pinot Noir for Australia’s prestigious “The Wine Magazine”. A sister publication to ‘Australian Gourmet Traveller’, The Wine Magazine is Australia’s foremost publication for wine lovers.
Our role included grouping the wines by variety, geographic region, vintage and style, then cataloguing the wines and arranging them into practical flights. Our portable computer and specialised software enhanced speed, accuracy, flexibility and efficiency.
We set up the venue, and then ensured the smooth and accurate running of the tasting, satisfying the panellist’s individual tasting requirements and styles. At day’s end, the panellists could relax and enjoy a customary beer, leaving the clean up to us.
Tasting took place over 2 days with a panel of international experts including Bob Campbell MW, Nick Bulleid MW, Huon Hooke, Joëlle Thomson, Paul White, Peter Bourne, Andrew Caillard MW, Peter Forrestal and Kayte Nunn.
The Wine Magazine said, “We thank… and Colin Ford and his team from Winework Solutions for the superb manner in which they organised and conducted the tasting.”
Fine Wine Online
Project: Wine Writing
In 1999, Jeff Poole, proprietor of The Fine Wine Delivery Company, was keen to develop his business’s Internet presence but was dissatisfied with the results he had achieved with his initial web site.
Winework Solutions’ Colin Ford introduced Jeff to John and Melody Anderson of Wayfarer International Ltd in June 1999. Ascertaining Jeff’s goals and requirements for the site, Wayfarer set about designing a solution from the ground up and in the process, developed a whole new concept in presentation for wine retail; Browsing.
Winework Solutions became involved in the project more directly by writing around 500 of the original, individual product ‘tasting’ notes for the site. The notes were required to be not only descriptive and informative, but also to fit with the fun, relaxed feel of the site as a whole.
Launched in mid August 1999, in November it was made a finalist in the annual Net Guide awards for ‘Best E-commerce or Shopping Site’ and has since also been included in their ‘Big 50’ – the 50 best food and wines sites from around the world.
In late 2002, a major site redesign was implemented by Straker as part of a project to integrate The Fine Wine Delivery Company’s IT systems and Winework Solutions and Wayfarer continued to work with The Fine Wine Delivery Company until May 2003.
Via Pacifica Imports
Project: Business Development & Staff Training
In late 1998, Colin Ford of Winework Solutions was working in California and studying viticultural practice. In a chance meeting, he was approached by Howard Kalmer, President of Via Pacifica Imports about Kalmer’s ideas for importing and distributing New Zealand wines throughout California and the US.
It was apparent from the beginning that it was a great idea. The Kalmers had the business background and where-with-all to turn their love of New Zealand’s wines into a business success. But they lacked in depth, professional knowledge of wine, the New Zealand wine industry, its players and NZ business practice.
Colin returned to New Zealand and in 1999 they set about creating the business, manning offices on opposite sides of the Pacific. It was decided that having someone with in depth knowledge of the local industry based in New Zealand would not only ensure the smooth flow of information and facilitate setting up the business but would also be a positive expression of VPI’s commitment to the venture.
Colin’s first task was to find the brands and producers that would form a stable of high quality, family-made wines for the speciality retail and restaurant market in the US. A group of eight was arrived at, based on Colin’s assessment and providing a range of regions and winemaking styles. Howard and his wife Shelly then flew to New Zealand and were introduced personally to each family to whom an approach had been made. Of those original eight wine producers, every one elected to go with Via Pacifica:
- Waiheke Vineyards (Te Motu) – Waiheke Island
- Crab Farm – Hawkes Bay
- Alpha Domus – Hawkes Bay
- Thornbury Wines – Hawkes Bay / Marlborough
- Lake Chalice – Marlborough
- Huia Vineyards – Marlborough
- Lawson’s Dry Hills – Marlborough
- Highfield Estate – Marlborough
Next, Colin assisted in developing and securing contractual agreements and establishing initial orders for inventory.
With initial shipments underway and sales and marketing expertise employed in the US, Colin travelled back to the US. There he spent three months involved in trade tastings, staff training, speaking to sales reps and consumer groups and ‘on the road’ with sales staff meeting trade buyers.
After just 12 months of trading, Via Pacifica Imports were well established as the leading importer of ’boutique’ New Zealand wines in the US.