An artist’s palate

Whether or not Jonas’s concept has marketing potential, it would at least provide an alternative to that tedious “what wine am I?” game at wine trade dinners. All you need is a bottle of wine, a napkin, a pen and a little imagination.
And, yes, in case you were wondering, in our blind tasting/ drawing session at home, our wine portraits were uncannily similar.

Target market
Jonas concedes that wine buffs would probably be brushed up the wrong way by his wine portraits, which is why they’re aimed squarely at the I-know-what-I-likers. “One of the most overheard comments among wine drinkers is ‘I don’t know much about wine but I know what I like’. And yet, having found ‘what they like’ at a party or from a wine merchant, how do they easily find a match with very similar characteristics without having to read the lengthy and confusing descriptions on bottle labels? With wine portraits they would be able to identify the styles of wine they like anywhere in world – without needing to speak the language,” says Jonas.
Like the innovation this industry craves, isn’t anything that gets people talking about wine – or even drawing it – “a good thing”? And if Jonas’s thinking is just too blue-sky for us busy westerners, consider for a moment the enormous potential of the Chinese wine market where people have been writing in “pictures” for centuries.

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
Johnny Jonas left school in 1966 to start a career in aviation reinsurance at Lloyd’s of London but his commuting hours were spent dreaming up inventions and paintings.
Frustrated with City life, he won a place at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence in 1972. He finally settled in the medieval village of Grimaldi, overlooking the French Riviera, where he painted everyday life in the colourful street cafés and restaurants.
He returned to England in 1980 where life seemed rather drab until he found inspiration in the Champagne bar at a day at the races, which led to a series of paintings of the British sporting year, focusing on the (mostly) happy punters at Ascot and the Derby. Aside from his commissioned portraits he has sold more than two million greetings cards and his work has appeared five times on the cover of Readers Digest.
Jonas’s inventions include a wine chiller that takes only four seconds to chill a glass and 20 seconds for a whole bottle. 

 © db May 2008

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