Blog: Olly WehringConcha y Toro - Sing When You're Wining

Olly Wehring | 20 September 2010

 

Readers are advised that the content of and opinion voiced in this blog belong to Dean Best and not myself. Dean is a Manchester United supporter. I am not.

A glass of wine can be the perfect accompaniment to times when we enjoy food, socialise or unwind. For one member of the just-drinks family this weekend, wine presented the opportunity to be a grade A fanboy.

Oxford Dictionaries describes a fanboy thus: "A male fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, music, film, or science fiction." 

To that, millions of us would add "football". Within that, some of us would add "Manchester United" (The cue for half of our readers to tut and click to another page).

For someone who watched their first United game in 1988 as a seven-year-old, this weekend was pretty special. Chilean wine giant Concha y Toro is one of a series United's corporate "partners" and, to mark the formal start of the association between the two sides, the company hosted a three-day event to which they invited members of the international press - including your correspondent.

Over the weekend, we the press were able to see behind the scenes at Old Trafford, meet United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and players including Ryan Giggs, and, taste some of Concha y Toro's wine stable in a tasting hosted by head winemaker Marcelo Papa.

Among the weekend's highlights for me, being able to spend five minutes in the company of Sir Bobby Charlton and to chat with him about the rivalry between United and their opponents yesterday, Liverpool, was particularly special.

Concha y Toro's management and representatives, including chairman Alfonso Lorrain and global marketing manager Giancarlo Bianchetti, enjoyed their trip to Manchester, which coincided with the 200th anniversary of Chile's independence.

The club marked the anniversary when, on a tour around the ground on Saturday, the Chilean national anthem was played over the tannoy system at Old Trafford - with United mascot Fred The Red standing proud and wearing a Chilean flag across his shoulders.

And, as if by magic, just as United's first goal hit the back of the net in the first half yesterday, the electronic advertising hoardings that border three sides of the pitch at Old Trafford (obviously the three sides picked up by the TV cameras) turned to say "Concha y Toro wines".

Cue much delight among the Concha y Toro team that its ad would be picked up on TV replays around the world.

And that, when all is said and done, is what the "partnership" between United and Concha y Toro is all about for the Chilean wine group.

The Casillero del Diablo maker is hoping that United's global name can help it build its presence in key markets, most notably Asia.

Next week, just-drinks will carry a full-length interview with global marketing manager Bianchetti, a piece that will cover his thoughts on the sponsorship, on broader industry issues around foreign currency volatility, discounting and the downturn - and, notably, Concha y Toro's belief that beverage alcohol brands can associate with sport.

For now, the just-drinks' fanboy will bask in the glow of the weekend when he met Sir Alex and Sir Bobby.

 


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