James Governor's Monkchips

Ice in wine: A South African thing. Rethinker marketing and IT

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I had lunch with Thomas Otter earlier this week. We didn’t even get drunk, and we paid our own expenses. But one point of note- the Sancerre just wasn’t cold enough. We had two options- be like a South African or be like a Brit. That is, add ice to the wine, or wait politely for it to turn cold in the bucket, then whine about the experience for days afterwards. You can imagine which nationality we chose. When you live in a ludicrously hot country adding ice to wine makes sense – what say you, hot country-man and wine IT innovator aqualung?

Making a drink something to add ice to can drive sales – just ask previously backwater drink brand Magner’s Cider


I hear one of the champagne companies is making a play this summer to be served in tumblers, with all the associated marketing opportunities. So a rose that you add ice to makes a fair bit of sense: Stormhoek brings us icy Couture.


What can these rebrandings tell us about IT marketing strategy? IBM’s mainframe people should be asking themselves what’s our ice and tumbler strategy? Microsoft should be asking itself how can we help people to make their software colder/cooler. How do we put Office on ice?

People don’t want business as usual they want to see the world afresh. A new name for a product won’t provide that – but a new way of serving it just might. When SAP unleashes AS1 as a hosted platform the cubes should be chinking. Sun is currently pouring old wine into new bottles with its storage strategy, which makes Solaris a general purpose storage operating system

Finally congratulations to the South African cricket team for putting the English on ice yesterday. You made Thomas a very happy man.

disclosure: IBM, Microsoft and Sun are clients. SAP is in process.


  1. Ah yes – when they suggest serving your wine at room temperature, it pays to know whose room they’re talking about! As in South Africa, a South Australian room temperature can be just a little south of boiling … ice in (particularly white and rose) wine is not unheard of. Personally, I have invested in various heavy-duty refrigeration devices, and when all else fails, 10 kg of ice in an Esky (a large insulated container designed for keeping a constant temperature – they CAN be used to keep things warm, but the need rarely arises here!) will do the trick. Kudos to Stormhoek for designing a wine that reportedly handles the inevitable melt …

  2. Now a comment on your ‘ice-in-wine’ as a metaphor for a new business view – something that flies in the face of convention is difficult to get off the ground when you ARE the ‘convention’ … all your ‘enterprisey’ clients (PRP included) will have offices/fiefdoms that struggle to accept such a change.

  3. ric – maybe you need to find some new consumers to generate the pull?

  4. If it’s hot enough to want a glass of chilled wine, then diluting a smidgin by adding a couple of ice cubes is probably not a bad idea either…

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