NOffLA speaks – In the midst of difficulty…

Times may be tough but there are still opportunities for retailers to entice Christmas shoppers with quality and value.

“In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity” goes the common expression. We can certainly identify with the first part of this advice, given the unprecedented difficulties in which we find ourselves. However, we may be less able to identify, recognise and act upon opportunities that cross our path.

Gold Star opportunity

NOffLA’s Gold Star Awards are such an opportunity. The selected wines represent the very best of what NOffLA outlets have to offer – within a variety of affordable price brackets. There is something here for everybody. In announcing the Gold Star Awards, NOffLA chairperson, Evelyn Jones, pointed to the key role in communicating the variety of excellent wines available in Ireland, at different price points: “The awards are categorised by price and so have gained a reputation, over the past nine years, for being the essential guide for selecting great wines at any price. There is sometimes a misconception that the higher the price, the better the quality of wine. But, four of NOffLA’s Gold Star winners retail at under €8 so we are confident that consumers will be able to pick up some superb wines, whether they want to spend €7.99 or €19.99.”

Festive preparations

The Christmas Wine Show 2010, held on 28 September, allowed NOffLA members to give the very best product offering to your customers as well as absolutely everything the independent off-trade will need for Christmas. The suppliers who participated in the event share one common goal: their commitment to the independent off-trade. NOffLA members can now build on that commitment in marketing the award winning wines actively and effectively in the run up to Christmas.

Preparation for the Christmas market was uppermost on the minds of many NOffLA members as they visited the Irish Wine Show. The highlight of the Christmas Wine Show – and a vital ingredient for a successful Christmas market – was the announcement of this year’s Gold Star Awards for the most outstanding wines available in NOffLA outlets.

Ensuring credibility

The Gold Star Award earned a significant level of credibility with consumers since its inception in 2001. Having established the brand, consumers now recognise the mark as a mark of quality – an assurance that these wines are of a significantly better than the rest. The awards will continue to receive media coverage in the coming weeks as wine writers acknowledge the selection and availability of the best selection of wine in the country.

The concept for the Irish Wine Show hasn’t changed since its inception. John Sheil, as NOffLA’s Chairman in 2001, said: “This is not only a showcase for our esteemed associate members to bring our members up to date on the latest products and marketing plans which can be passed on to the benefit of our customers, it is also a showcase for our own expertise.” These words are just as valid nine years later as the independent off-trade finds itself in difficult economic times.

Showcasing expertise

The Gold Star Awards demonstrate the expertise of NOffLA’s members and associate members. There is a great opportunity for all NOffLA members to build on the success of the show by using this expertise to maximise the marketing opportunities available through the award-winning wines as we enter the trade’s busiest season. Capitalise on the Gold Star Awards by ensuring that your outlet has a range of award-winning wines over the next few months.

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