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On Thursday evening, I attended my second Women in Wine Exchange. This one was hosted at the gorgeous Warwick Wine Estate, with Norma and Mike Ratcliffe as our hosts. Having ill-judged traffic, I was early to arrive. The lovely, bubbly Jani Branders (Warwick’s Hospitality Manager) pushed a glass of vino into my hand and, as I caught sight of Norma’s vibrant top, she greeted me. Her cheerful, “hello” and funky attire were a total one-up on last month’s get-together when, meeting her for the first time, her mere presence quite honestly scared the sh!t* out of me. This was the first time I had met Mike Ratcliffe.  It’s fabulous for me to put faces to these industry names after so many years of hearing about them. Mike is instantly likeable: fun and funny, with an openness and great charisma about him. He had a lesion on his lower leg which sparked conversation…he was attacked on a bike ride…rabid dog, mosquito or lion…the jury’s still out.

The theme of the presentation that evening was Social Media & Mobile – it’s a whole new world! Mike talked us through the importance and necessity of being tech savvy, particularly mobile savvy, if you want your brand/product to stay in the game, and preferably ahead of it. The statistics of internet-connected and smart-phone users from ten years ago to today is alarming. He had some simple graphs up on the projector with bar charts and merging lines that had me blinking in sets of three. After all, ten years ago was only yesterday, right? If someone had told us then that a company’s key engagement strategy with their consumer base would be via mobile phone, with the use of @-symbols and hashtags to broaden the reach, I’m sure most of us would’ve thought that person had been supping too long on the plonk. Yet here we are. And all we can do is embrace it…adapt or die as the harsh aphorism states. Alas, it would seem that cookies are no longer crumbly, buttery bites of goodness.

Colleen Norkie is Mike’s right-hand (wo)man of a decade and Warwick’s Direct Marketing Manager. She shared her insights on marketing in a digital era and, although nervous as all hell, ploughed through her presentation with guts and grace. I’d have needed a large Gin. This cool lady also let it be known that she has made a batch of her own wine. So, not only does she take social media by the horns and ride the bull with mastery, but she has handpicked her grapes and bottled her own vino. @rookie_wino I’m so #jealous

Thank you to Mike, Norma, Colleen, Jani and all involved for a most enjoyable and insightful evening. A big tip of the hat, too, to Chef Dane Newton – the food was fanbloodytastic.

*I feel OK to cuss here when, during presentation feedback, Fiona McDonald used the word “f**king” as an adjective in her comment. Sadly, this post won’t do justice to the smooth, caramel-like way it ebbed from her mouth. There’s only one other woman I’ve known to say it so, and that was my Grandmother. An utterly fabulous woman, God rest her soul. I think some practise is in order.  Of enunciating it, that is.

In lieu of embracing social media, please follow the wonderful Warwick team (and make damn sure you have a picnic on the their lawn lined up for summer).

@WarwickWine @mikeratcliffe @normrat Colleen: @rookie_wino Dane: @WarwickChef

www.warwickwine.com / +27 21 884 4410

© Daisy Knowles 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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