New Year, Old Relationships

Wines by Design would like to welcome everyone back for the New Year. The time off has given us a much needed break and time to reflect on what has been a challenging but rewarding year. We hope that you have all managed to enjoy some quality relaxation in preparation for the New Year.

As your business returns to normal operations, you will know doubt be asking yourself on how you can do things better than the previous year. An obvious answer is of course to try and pick up new customers and expand your client base. Whilst this is a very important part of business, an often overlooked and perhaps more important action, is to maintain existing relationships. According to global management consulting firm Bain and Co., a 5 percent increase in retention boosts profit by 25 to 100 percent. And on average, repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new customers!

Follow these great tips and give your clients every reason to keep doing business with you:

1. Treat Clients as Though Your Business Depends on Them
Always make your clients feel important from the first meeting to the hundredth. Give them respect and make them feel that they are your most important focus.

2. Get to Know Your Customers
All customers want to know they are important to you. Get to know them. Remember their name and greet them by name whenever they visit or call your business. Find out what else is important in their life. If you know that they have a dozen grandchildren, ask them how the grandkids are doing. Try to learn the business and personal needs of each customer.

3. Be Willing to Say Both “Yes” and “No”
Your clients will respect you when you say “yes” to their needs, but they will also respect your limits even if you say “no.” If a request is outside of your staff’s capabilities, be sure to tell the client what you CAN do, instead of simply what you CANNOT do.
Always try to solve a problem immediately when possible. If not, tell your client that the issue is important, and you will respond with an answer as soon as possible. Try to give them a time frame as to when they can expect your answer, and keep them updated along the way if it will take you more than a day to get them the requested information. Setting these proper expectations will show the client how much you respect and value their time.

4. Reward Customers with a Gift
Give an occasional gift to loyal clients. Clients who receive gifts know that you value them and will reward your business with many returns. Browse our extensive e-brochure for the perfect idea.

5. Stay in Touch
Keep a database of your clients’ contacts. Send a periodic newsletter to let them know you still are thinking of them. A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch and remind clients of your services and other new happenings to your business.
Developing customer loyalty is akin to nurturing any type of relationship. By adding a positive human touch to each interaction, you can build long-term relationships that will add to your organization’s bottom line.

We hope that by following these simple but often neglected tips will help your business strive in the New Year.

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Keep Calm, Christmas is Near

Christmas is getting closer and its time to start planning ahead. Ever found a good Mulled Wine recipe? Well, our Hemera Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz 2012 wine goes down like a treat as a nice mulled wine!


[box type=”info”]From the Winemaker.

This individual wine is crafted to create a seamless balance of intensity, structure and elegance. The nose has abundant plums, blueberries and sweet spiced oak. The tannins are rich and silky giving mid palate weight and enhancing the dark red cherries and mulberry characters. The oak maturation is integrated and adds toast and dark chocolate to the palate. A great choice.

Click here to preview Hemera Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz.[/box]


To help you out, we have here a nice German Mulled Wine to help you have the full Christmas experience.


Hot Mulled Wine (Glühwein, “glow wine”)

Ingredients (serves 2-3 persons)

  • 1 bottle of Hemera Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz (750 ml)
  • one lemon
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • some cardamom (or ginger)

Heat the red wine in a pot (don’t boil). Cut the lemon into slices and add to the wine. Then add the cinnamon, cloves, sugar and a little cardamom (to taste). Heat everything for about 5 minutes – do not boil – and let stand for about an hour. Before serving, reheat and strain. Serve in prewarmed glasses or mugs.

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Corporate Gifting Guidelines

Giving a Corporate Gift to key clients, suppliers or your staff at Christmas really does constitute best business practice. Not only does it strengthen existing relationships and loyalties through a basic act of showing appreciation, but also it creates a PR opportunity that can leave a very favourable impression on your company in the eyes of potential customers, potential employees and those who work in your industry as a whole.

Every company, regardless of its size, turnover or core business, should have a well thought out plan of promotional corporate gift giving. The act of promotional corporate gift giving itself is somewhat of an art, not a science yet there are a few basic guidelines that can help you maximize the impact of your corporate gift giving and avoid the major pitfalls.

Below is a list of some Do’s and Don’ts of promotional corporate gift giving this Christmas. Follow these rules and you shouldn’t have any problems.


1. Establish an Objective: The most common time for corporate gift giving is during the holiday season. So the usual objective is to “give a holiday gift”. But this doesn’t have to be the only time that you give a corporate gift. For example, you could thank a loyal client for continued business or start an incentive program with employees to increase more sales. By choosing an objective you will be able to narrow down gift choices and choose something that truly reflects your intentions.

2. Go for Quality: The gift is a representation of your company, so it is imperative that any business gift you send must reflect the image of your company. Giving a gift of obviously low value or quality can actually end up doing more harm than good.

3. Invest in presentation: Almost as important as the gift you give is the presentation and packaging of the present. After all it is the first thing your intended recipient(s) will see and they do say first impressions count. There is no point spending a generous amount on the gift only for the effect to be instantly ruined by poorly done or cheap packaging. The point of Corporate Gift Giving is to make as positive impact as possible. You won’t do this if you cut corners or costs on presentation.

4. Deliver your gift personally: If you are able to you should, where possible, personally deliver the gifts to the intended recipient. This is especially true when giving Christmas gifts to staff who will really appreciate a very personal gesture like this, particular if they know how busy the workload of the management is. A personally delivered gift is also an excellent way to keep your key clients and suppliers happy. They are no fools and will realize that the gift is from the management not the secretary or a junior assistant. Therefore if you as the management can take the time to personally deliver it, your company will be seen in even more of a favourable light. More to the point, if the recipient has some spare time they might even take the opportunity to discuss a few items of business with you right there and then.


1. Avoid choosing popular generic gifts: The likes of pens, stubbie holders, mugs etc are far too popular to choose as a corporate gift. They also scream of a lack of imagination. If you do choose any of these kinds of items there is a strong possibility that your intended recipient may not take too kindly to it. Not least because they may well already have a stockpile of these items, given to them by other companies over the years.

2. Don’t forget the ‘workers’: Although it is tempting to restrict your corporate gift giving to ‘decision makers’ like management and senior executives it is important to be mindful of the feelings and contributions of the workers. Particularly if they are involved in the day-to-day management of your business. You could actually do a lot of damage to morale if you, for example, are seen to reward the management but not the workers with a corporate gift. To be on the safe side even if you decide not to give a gift to all the workers individually it is definitely worth, at the very least, getting themselves something they can all share.

3. Don’t expect something in return: The purpose of giving a corporate gift should be to recognize and reward the contributions of others to the current level of success of your business. You should never expect something in return. Not least because it could be that the company you are giving a gift too might not be enjoying the same level of success.

4. Don’t give people of the same level gifts of a widely different value: A really big no, no. You should never, under any circumstances give people who work in the same pay or job status bracket gifts that differ widely in value. It can cause major resentment if one person gifts a small gift whilst their colleague gets something of much greater value. Word gets around so be consistent. This is especially the case when giving corporate gifts to clients.

5. Make sure the recipient will be there: There is no point making the great gesture of giving a corporate gift if the intended recipient only receives it after they have come back from their Christmas Break. Find out prior to giving or dispatching the gift whether the intended recipient will be in the office. It is the simplest of details but one that could really let down what it is you are trying to achieve.

6. Most importantly. Don’t wait until the last minute: Organizing your gifts early makes the whole experience enjoyable and worry free, giving you more time to appreciate the giving process.

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Tasting wine step by step


Pour 30ml of wine into a glass

* Tilt the glass slightly

* Check that the wine is clear and free of cloud

* Using a white background observe the colour of the wine. This will determine the depth and hue of colour. Look at the body and rim of the wine, are they different colours?

* Swirl the glass. If the wine is high in alcohol it will produce little droplets on the side of the glass. This is observing its viscosity.


* Smell the wine. Swirl the wine in the glass and smell again.

* Check the wine for smells such as vinegar, mould. We want a clean smell

* Try to describe the various aromas your are experiencing

* Try to determine the intensity of the aromas such as intense, medium and light


* Take a small amount of wine in your mouth and move it around for approximately 10 seconds. Think about the flavours and sensations your are feeling and tasting.

* Moving the wine around in your mouth is important to be able to fully appreciate all its flavours

* Wines aroma also contributes to its flavour experienced within the mouth.

* Tannins contribute to the texture of the wine. Some words to describe the sensation of tannins include silky, grainy and soft.

* To get the full experience of wine on the palate you must look for the intensity, the weight of the wine in the mouth, the balance between flavours, richness, pleasant mouth feel, structure and negative contributions such as bitterness.

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How to Taste Wine Properly

Pour about 30 ml of wine into a glass.

1. Observing

  • Tilt the glass slightly.
  • Check that the wine is clear (not hazy).
  • Observe its colour against a white background and determine the depth (intensity) and shade (hue) of colour. Look at the rim and the body of the wine: the colours may be different. Are the colours brilliant or dull?
  • Look for viscosity: if a wine is high in alcohol, droplets of the wine may adhere to the side of the glass after the wine is swirled.
  • Record the words that describe the wine’s appearance.

2. Smelling
Sniff the wine. The volatile compounds are detected by the olfactory bulb in the brain. Swirl the glass and then sniff the wine again. A couple of sniffs are sufficient as our sense of smell is easily fatigued, and when this happens it becomes more difficult to detect and discern the aromas.

  • Check if the wine is clean, i.e does not have any moldy, acetic (vinegar-like) or dirty (smelly) characters.
  • Attempt to recognize and describe the various aromas. These fall into three possible categories: primary fruit characters, developed fruit characters and characters derived during the winemaking process. The words that we use to describe aromas (as well as flavours) are referred to as descriptors, e.g fruity, floral, raspberry, toasty, smoky.
  • Estimate the intensity of these smell sensations: are they light, medium or intense?
  • Assess the harmony of the various sensations: no one smell, with the possible exception of fruit characters, should dominate.
  • Record your impressions.

3. Tasting
Take a small volume of wine (about 10 ml) into your mouth. Move the wine around in the mouth for about 10-15 seconds. While the wine is in the mouth, think about the flavours, tastes and mouthfeel sensations that
you are experiencing. Then swallow or spit out the wine. Have you ever wondered why wine tasters make those peculiar noises when tasting wine? It actually helps to get the most out of the wine. The warm environment of the mouth releases the volatile compounds from the wine, which then pass through the retronasal passage to the olfactory bulb in the brain. Opening the mouth slightly and drawing air in help to aspirate the volatile compounds out of the wine. This action, although a bit noisy, does enhance the perception of the wine’s flavour.
There are four basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. We normally encounter only the first three when tasting wine. Detection of these tastes does not take place exclusively in any particular region of the tongue, and it is important to move the wine around your mouth and over all parts of the tongue to appreciate them fully. Bitterness is the most localised of the taste sensations and its perception is concentrated towards the back of the tongue. The presence of bitterness can lessen the enjoyment of the wine.

The compounds that give wine its aroma also contribute to flavour sensations experienced in the mouth. Similar descriptors are used to describe flavours as are used for aromas. Flavour sensations are also described as being light, medium or intense. Some sensations are more obvious immediately the wine enters the mouth, while others intensify as the wine warms up. The ever-changing narure of these flavour experiences is often referred to as the development or evolution of the wine in the mouth.

Another commonly used term is complexity. It describes the diversity of the aroma and flavour sensations. We also use the terms length and aftertaste when referring to the flavour attributes of a wine; these relate to the intensity of flavour over the palate and how long the flavour sensations last in the mouth after the wine is tasted. Acidity also contributes to the length and finish. Astringent sensations (puckering of the mouth) are often experienced when tasting red wines, especially those high in tannins. The tannins interact with the saliva in the mouth, nullifying its lubricating action, and thus the mouth feels dry (as with a lack of saliva). Tannins can also contribute textures; some of the words that are used to describe the feel of the tannins are soft, silky, supple, grainy, furry and puckering.

Textural features are not exclusive to red wines. White wines, particularly those that have been stored on yeast lees, can have a creamy feeling in the mouth. Another tactile sensation is that due to high or unbalanced alcohol levels present in some wines. These wines (either red or white) will give a warm or hot feeling at the back of the mouth, particularly after the wine has been swallowed.

Experience the wine on the palate and look for…….

  • The type, intensity and harmony of the sensory characters
  • The weight of the wine in the mouth
  • The balance between the acid and sweet tastes
  • The balance between fruit characters and those of, for example, acid, sugar, alcohol, tannins, wood
  • Richness and fullness on the palate
  • Pleasant mouthfeel (tactile sensations)
  • Overall structure
  • Contribution of negative characters (eg bitterness, coarseness, hotness, dirty or unpleasant odours, tastes or taints). These normally should not be present, but if they are, they should be minimal. Quality wines do not have to be squeaky clean. It is the overall impression of the wine’s positive features that portrays its quality, providing negative characters are not dominant.
  • The length
  • The finish
  • The aftertaste

Most of all enjoy our wine selection

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