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NOffLA Speaks: Opportunity knocks

The Gold Star wine collection will offer a wonderful point of difference to NOffLA members' stores, representing the very best the in the trade

The Irish Wine Show 2009, held on 29 September, has been acknowledged as the best show in its nine-year history. Almost 40 exhibitors, ranging from international wine suppliers to providers of glassware, ice sculptures and pensions advice, did business with the largest-ever attendance from the Irish independent off-trade.

The Irish Wine Show offers NOffLA members a variety of opportunities to build on its success. As Jim McCabe, chairman of the National Off-Licence Association, reminded members: “Suppliers present today have one common goal and that is their commitment to the independent off-trade. Their ongoing support allows NOffLA to undertake its wide range of initiatives, which are of genuine advantage to the independent off-licence sector.”

Of more immediate benefit to the NOffLA members attending the event, Jim McCabe also assured them that this year’s show “will allow you to give the very best product offering to your customers as well as absolutely everything you will need for 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 Irish 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.

The Gold Star Awards have earned a significant level of credibility with consumers since their inception in 2001. Having established the brand, consumers now recognise it as a mark of quality; an assurance that these wines are 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.

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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