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What I Think of Kirrihill Wines


Kirrihill Wines sent me some bottles of vino a couple of weeks ago as part of their wine for bloggers program. I blogged about the wine from a social media marketing perspective a couple of times and a lot of people read with interest. In fact, as is the nature of the medium, word spread around the world. A few US wine critics even took notice.

Which is lovely, but the feedback from most comments was “that’s great Matt, nice use of social media marketing, but what did you think of the wine?”

I figured it was about time I told you. In fact, it was pretty good. I sampled half a dozen bottles with friends and gave half a dozen away to co-workers who expressed interest. I wanted to wait a couple of weeks before I wrote anything about the wine so I was working from my lasting impressions, rather than my immediate impressions.

The results are as follows:

  • After two weeks I could not remember the exact name of the winery that had sent me the dozen bottles. I thought it was Kirrihill Wine and had to go back and change the title of the blog post when I visited their website just then and realised it was Kirrihill Wines. Not a big deal, but, interesting.
  • Of the 10 people in this office who saw the bottles on my desk, the six who professed to be the most interested in wine were given a bottle. None of them can remember the name on the label, although two knew it started with a K and one thought it was Kirribilli. So, including me, that’s 0/11 brand recall after two weeks. They all thought the wine was OK and said that if they saw it in a bottle shop they’d consider buying it again, but none were raving about it. Ouch.
  • I sampled the following wines:
    • Chardonnay Viognier
    • Riesling Pinot Gris
    • Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc
    • Garnacha Rosé
    • Cabernet Merlot
    • Shiraz Viognier
    • Tempranillo Garnacha
  • I was actually really looking forward to trying the Riesling Pinot Gris and went to the trouble of having a dinner party and cooking a thai-style bbq prawn and macadamia nut salad to match the wine, and it was OK, but it didn’t really stand up against a few of my other favourite mid-range rieslings from Petaluma and Pewsey Vale.
  • The Tempranillo Garnacha was fantastic and unusual. I would buy it again. In fact, I would actively seek it out in a bottle shop. If I could remember the name. It would be nice if their website mentioned more about it because it’s such an unusual variety.
  • The rest of the range was OK, but to be honest, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them again.
  • I loved the packaging.

I’ll drop Kirrihill a line in the next few weeks and do a more in-depth interview about how the campaign went because it’s certainly generated some buzz, but for now, those are my thoughts as a wine drinker.

Oh, by the way, if you’re a wine fan and haven’t checked out Project Vino, make sure you do. It’s an online Australian wine community and it’s brilliant.

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7 Responses to What I Think of Kirrihill Wines

  1. Julian Cole says:

    Wow, I was actually surprised by your honesty in this post. I was actually expecting you to rave about all their products. I think that we are naturally inclined to view brands in a positive light if we see that they are trying to understand us!

  2. Matt Granfield says:

    Julian, I reckon if I’d blogged about their products straight after I’d consumed them they’d probably get a better rap because it’s not bad wine. In fact it’s quite OK wine, but in my humble opinion only the Tempranillo Garnacha was worth remarking about and it’s the only one I can really remember as a stand out two weeks later. I certainly have an esteemed opinion of Kirrihill as a brand and if they want to continue the relationship with me over time I’m more than happy to keep the dialogue going. If they were smart, and I suspect they are, they’ll get my permission to drop me a line and let me know when the next crop of Tempranillo Garnacha hits the shelves and perhaps, in time, suggest some other varieties I might like to try. If they’re not as smart as I think they are they’ll forget about me when their contract with Network PR runs out and the relationship will be over. I’m just hoping they won’t do the unthinkable and add me to their email list without my permission and start sending me crap, which I know will be extremely tempted for them!

  3. Hi Matt

    Like you say “ouch!” but hey, that was the goal of the exercise – get the wines out there to a new group of influential, non-wine people (consumers) with a social network and find out what they really think. Your opinion of our wines is the reality and I’m not going to argue with you otherwise based on more positive reviews and wine show awards that the wines have received.

    The low recall does not surprise me either. Unlike most branded consumer goods categories the wine category is enormous and fragmented with thousands of brands vying for attention. Compare the number of wine brands, or more accurately labels, with the number of car brands for example and you get the picture. With the exception of the big guys who can afford to advertise, driving desire and reinforcing branded messages, the majority of wine brands will suffer from poor recall, hence the pull off ‘Remember Me’ tab on our back labels. The wine category in Australia is full of labels – of which the Kirrihill Companions is just one – and relatively few brands such as De Bortoli, Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds, Rosemount, Wolf Blass and Yalumba etc.

    So from our dialogue, which cost 12 bottles of wine, we have gained several invaluable consumer insights:

    • Our packaging is good.
    • Our branding is not memorable enough.
    • Our quality is ok; however we need to raise it if we want to get people to actively seek out our wines.
    • Our communication about our points of difference needs to improve – making the most of our unusual Tempranillo Garnacha blend for example.
    • Our approach has generated interest and people have valuable contributions to make which will help us in the making and marketing of our wines.
    • How do we ensure a quicker turnaround between consumption and any resultant blogging?

    Needless to say, we would like to continue the dialogue and if you like I’ll send you our single vineyard Watervale Riesling which is more comparable to the Petaluma and Pewsey Vale wines – let me know.



    PS Don’t worry about us sending you crap – our email database is opt in only.

  4. Matt Granfield says:

    Matt, I think the key is to keep the conversation going – keep the relationship alive. Just because I only ‘loved’ one of the wines you sent me that one time doesn’t mean much – I’m not a wine critic! It certainly wasn’t bad wine, in fact it was good wine, it’s just that only the tempa-whatsamakallit-gra-thingy struck me as remarkable. The bottom line is I liked enough of your wine enough to want to check it out again next time I’m in a bottle shop, and the simple fact that you’ve engaged me on my own turf means I’m going to think you’re awesome and respect you a hell of a lot more than every other brand of wine who has never bothered to start a conversation with me. Nice work. I’m off to join your mailing list now 🙂

  5. Matt (Granfield) I can’t remember if I told you, but I really did like the bottle you passed on to me to sample. However I can’t remember what it was called (mainly due to my shoddy memory) and in my haste to put the rubbish out before the garbage truck came, I forgot to pull the little tab off the bottle. It was a light pink/red one and I found it nice and sweet and drinkable, obviously I’m using laymans terminology here as I’m not much of a wine drinker. I would probably buy it for myself again which might be tricky having not committed the name to memory, however I did remember Kirrihill and the masks/faces on the bottle, plus the colour of the wine. I think that would be enough to pick it. 🙂

  6. Love the honesty (and the strategy of waiting a few weeks before blogging about the wine).

    I read something a while back about a wine co. that wasn’t sure what to price their new wine at. My memory is fading but … it went something like this …

    XYZ Wine Co. in South Africa sent a dozen bottles of it’s new Chardonnay to 200 of it’s best customers. The case was accompanied by a note that said “Dear Bob, please have a case of our new Chardonnay. If you think it is good enough, please send us the amount that you think it is worth”.

    So the wine was free if people didn’t want to pay for it but apparently people sent money for the wine and the price they paid was 20% higher than what they thought they would set the recommended retail price at.

    Matt, now, without looking up the price, what would you be willing to pay for a bottle? Now compare that to the RRP. Let us know what you came up with.

  7. Hi Charlotte

    Glad you liked the wine!

    If it was one of the red wines it was probably the Cabernet Merlot 2006 and if it was the rosé (pink) wine then it was the Garnacha 2008.




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