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Olympic Ideal

The Games in Athens helped to light a torch for Greek wines, while Portugal continues its Euro 2004 football run 

AS ANY PR worth their salt can tell you, big splashy events are the best drivers of press coverage.  Reporters like nothing better than a decent "peg" on which to hang a story – no need for tortuous debates with editors, or difficult news judgement calls.

And, of course, there’s no bigger peg than the Olympic Games, which (in case you happened to be hibernating for the past few weeks) took place in Athens in August.  While the much anticipated economic gold-rush failed to materialise for the Greek on-trade, there have been some useful knockon effects from being the centre of global attention for 16 days in August.

One element that has surfaced in this month’s in the press analysis is the positive spin afforded to Greek wines in light of the games.  It comes not a moment too soon for the Greek wine promoters in the UK – despite the continuing support of Oddbins, Greek wine has so far struggled to become a mainstream attraction in the UK.

Normally the country scrapes along with a dozen or so mentions a year – too small to rate being counted as a country in its own right.  However, in August, as part of the "Other" column in the country mentions chart (see chart illustration), Greece captured just under 5% of all mentions, placing it ahead of traditional heavyweights such as South Africa, the USA and Argentina.

In the Press of course just measures the output of wine columns, and there were plenty of other mentions of Greek wine in the Olympic-related coverage in travel sections and even, occasionally, in the sports pages.

One priceless Greek wine moment occurred in the BBC coverage, when former Olympic triple jump champion (and now BBC commentator) Jonathan Edwards was interviewed in a local taverna while imbibing heartily on a local white wine.

What’s also interesting is that this event-driven coverage appears to have a longer-term effect. Portugal, whose hosting of the Euro 2004 football championships generated a lot of wine-related copy, has continued its good run during the summer, and remains on course to hit 3% of mentions this year.

Other points to note from August’s data include: another good month for Waitrose, Oddbins, and Asda, and a poor month for Safeway, which is perhaps reflective of the increasing focus on the Morrisons brand (which did much better than average again).

For Sainsbury’s, which on the surface performed well (11.5% of mentions against an average of just under 9%), August may be seen as a bit disappointing compared to the 16.5% of mentions recorded for the same month last year.



This analysis is brought to you by Wine Intelligence, a research-led marketing consultancy specialising in the wine industry.  The company is staffed by experienced wine industry and research professionals and provides research and consulting services to leading producers, importers, retailers and trade organisations.

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