‘Bringing movie magic to the wine world will win new drinkers’: Direct Wines CEO


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Direct Wines CEO Simon McMurtrie insists that bringing ‘some of the magic’ associated with movie and perfume launches into the wine world will entice a new generation of wine drinkers.

Direct Wines is the world’s largest direct-to-consumer wine group, with sales of £353m in 2013.

Ben Bouckley from caught up with McMurtrie after her chaired the second day of Wine Vision 2014 in London last week.

“Look at how direct-to-consumer companies such as ourselves are working, We’re  all realizing it’s the combination of voice, video, pictures, facts, packaging taken together that creates some excitement,”​ McMurtrie says.

‘The age of opportunity and divergence’

“Just as in the movie industry how they launch a new film, or in the perfume industry how they launch a new perfume – bringing some of that magic into the wine world will attract people into the category, make people confident about trying higher-priced wine,” ​he adds.

In addition to discussing what Jancis Robinson calls an ‘Age of Opportunity’ in wine, McMurtrie also links this to Hugh Johnson’s ‘age of divergence’.

"We need to work harder to speak to potential wine drinkers and bring them into the category." ​(Simon McMurtrie, CEO, Direct Wines)

“Terroir is extremely relevant to some consumers, as opposed to it being vitally important that there’s a name behind the winemaker,”​ he adds.

“For some consumers that’s incredibly important, for other consumers, they simply don’t care.

“Part of what we’ve been trying to explore at Wine Vision today is what the implications of that are. The good news is – tremendous opportunity for producers and retailers,” ​McMurtire says.

‘If we offer irrelevant wines, people will walk away’

“The bad news is – we need to work harder. We need to work harder to speak to potential wine drinkers and bring them into the category,” ​he adds.

“People being seduced by craft beers or fancy spirits, we need to bring them into the category. We need to speak to our existing customers and ask ‘what are you enjoying? Listen very carefully to that and adjust what we offer them,” ​McMurtrie says.

“For myself working in a direct to consumer business – if we keep on offering them irrelevant wines, they'll walk away. If they’re delighted, grateful for the service and will carry on buying wines from us.”

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