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Bottle Shop Concepts 2015 end of year report.

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2015 has been a significant year for the little company that is Bottle Shop Concepts. We ran 16 events in 6 cities and 2 countries, hosted over 8,500 people and looked after 225 wineries from 51 different wine regions. And that’s just the tipping point.

From our inception in mid 2013, it’s been a wild rollercoaster ride, yet we’ve doubled the amount of events we’ve run each year. 2016 will be no exception (but more on that later).

Today we release our end of year report to share with you some of the facts and stats we found throughout the year. We do this in the spirit of collaboration, as the insights (however nerdy at times) are fascinating and useful. Interest in wine, it seems, is in a very healthy place and this is a good thing.

2015 was challenging in some ways, yet incredibly positive in others. What was most reassuring is how engaged our attendees were.

Despite what some wine commentators say, people ARE interested in wine but they want to learn about it the same way in which they consume it; socially. And then, they want to share their experience.

This is highlighted by our media reach and backed up by our demographic stats. 60% of all our attendees were women, with 55% under the age of 35. Ask ANY marketer who they want to talk to and that’s the demographic they want, and here they are at our wine events. This is incredibly exciting.

Additionally, we found the percentage of women tended to increase from event to event particularly in the under 35 demographic. For example: Gauchito Gil’s Malbec World Day we saw an increase in women to total of 65%. For Game of Rhones in Brisbane, it increased to 75%.

Never before have people been more engaged with what they imbibe. Whether it be at our events, or the others in the market place, there is a ground swell of interest in not just wine, but the people and places in which it is made in and by.

People care about people; it’s how we connect. People want an engaging story not stainless-steel tanks and seeing they ways in which so many of our wineries embraced ‘their’ story this year was amazing.

What’s on for 2016? Well, it’s going to be an even bigger ride it seems.

What is most exciting is that Pinot Palooza turns 5 and we’ll be bringing you some cool side projects to celebrate. Game of Rhones rolls into 7 cities adding Perth and Wellington to the mix. Plus, we have a few new concepts we’re working on which we think you’re going to like. Stay tuned.

All in all, 2016 is going to be a big one and we can’t wait to make it happen.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who joined us, exhibited with us, supported us or simply smiled at us randomly on the street, we thank you. Deeply.

I’d also like to thank my incredible team. My small merry band of misfits went above and beyond this year with not just the events themselves but managing a mobile and remote workplace with aplomb. We’re a small team determined to make our events not necessarily bigger, but better and more meaningful.

So come at us 2016. Bring. It. On.


Introducing Moir Laird Bottle Shop Concept’s newest team member.

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From the minute we met Moir, we fell in love with her and knew she ‘was the one’ to join our small but growing team. Not only was her event experience impressive but her approachability and the energy she brought to the room made us feel like she’d already been with us for months.

With Jade heading on maternity leave towards the end of the year (she’s coming back, so don’t worry!), Moir will be stepping into her ‘Projects’ role managing all our events in Australia. With 21 events already on the cards for 2016, she’s hit the ground running but we know she’s going to nail it. So … WELCOME ABOARD MOIR!

Keen to say hi? Drop Moir an email at or you can follow her via the socials below. Yes, her handle is @pinotmoir!


Moir Laird is an events and marketing professional, specialising in creating the experiences you can’t afford to miss. Dedicated to connecting interesting people with great producers and creators, Moir’s strengths lie in marketing strategy and event management.

With a background in wine marketing for Seresin Estate in her New Zealand home, Moir relocated to London to hone her craft. Following a projects and business development stint for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, she found her niche with social start-up Wok+Wine in London’s innovative startup scene, producing events to create opportunities for wine brands and consumers alike. Ready for a new challenge, she recently relocated to Melbourne to get closer to the city’s bustling and inspired events calendar.


By The Rant 4 Comments

30 seconds to a minute is what a sommelier has in front a guest to figure out what wine a person might like, match it to their dish and within their price point. Not long at all. When you consider the large encyclopaedia lists many venues have, it sounds as daunting as it does impossible. But it isn’t.

The skill resides in effective communication. Asking a few key questions and most importantly, listening. Listening helps you guide a guest to where they feel comfortable and or to their exploratory boundaries.

In all my time as a sommelier, I’ve never once sold a bottle a wine based on facts and figures; it was on style and story. When it comes down to it, a guest is not there to have dinner with you and they’re certainly not there for a master class so good sommeliers keep it simple without dumbing it down. With such limited time, bamboozling people with wine making bullshit is neither helpful, meaningful or useful.

I used to drill this into my sommelier staff by asking them to describe a wine and time their response. Often it would be ‘well, it was picked at 13.5 baume, did its primary fermentation in stainless before being transferred to new french oak, from seguin moreau, with a light toast, before a little battonage to build some texture as well as a partial malolactic fermentation of 30%, blah blah blah …. ‘. You get the drift.

Say that tirade to a someone who knows a bit wine and they’ll look at you annoyed and say … ‘please go away and get me a glass of wine’.

Say that to someone who doesn’t know a lot about wine they’ll look at you annoyed and say … ‘please go away and get me a glass of wine’.

The issue is getting caught up in the process without giving them a connection to people and place; the story. We remember stories more than facts and figures. Why? Because they’re far more interesting than stainless steel tanks.

Imagine wait staff telling you about a steak along the lines of ‘… this is grass-fed Angus beef from Gippsland and what we do is put it on a truck, take it to the abattoir, stun it, slit its throat, hang it upside down, strip it of all its skin off before chopping it up into smaller pieces, dry ageing some so it goes a little grey before cryovacing it and putting it on another truck to a warehouse and then here to the restaurant where we cook it’. Enjoy your meal.

Don’t get me wrong, what happens from paddock to plate is vitally important but I don’t necessarily want to hear about it over dinner. As a diner, I’d like to assume your produce is from ethical and sustainable sources. It’s the same with a wine and or wine list. I assume the sommelier has done the hard work as the proof is in the wine list and or glass in my hand. I’m already invested.

At the beginning of each of our events we brief our wine producers by giving them a little pep talk as to who is attending and what to expect. We say ‘… if we hear one mention of baume levels, trellising systems, clonal selections and any other of that wine making bullshit, we’ll yellow card you. Hear it twice and it’ll be red’.

A tad militant? Perhaps. But our point is that process shouldn’t be the default setting nor opening line. Why not start with ‘Hello’?

Much like a sommelier in a restaurant, at an event a wine producer has around 30 seconds to a minute in front of a guest to tell their story and make a connection to the person in front of them. Telling them who they are, where they’re from, why they’re there and what style of wine they make will have far more resonance than any production method.

It’s the vinous equivalent of a 140 character elevator pitch.

Is yours ready?

The 2015 Game of Rhones Campaign Wrap up

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2015 was the biggest campaign for Game of Rhones yet. A little under 2500 joined us in five cities and two countries in an all out vinous celebration of the grape varieties of the Rhone Valley.

Since the campaign ended in Auckland (our first event in NZ), we’ve been compiling some stats from the event and share here for your interest.

Other points to note: SHAW & SMITH Shiraz was the overall People’s Choice winner taking out top position in 3 out of 5 cities (Well done team). We also had over 70 wine brands involved resulting in over 200 different wines on tasting.

Whilst this is generally an internal report, I think there is a a lot of data here worth sharing, especially in terms of sales and social media reach. Geeky, perhaps, but interesting.

Let us know what you think.


GoR 2015 End of Event Report