Monday, August 20

Wine trade backs ootra, the small wine producer’s friend

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The wine trade including restaurants, bars and bottle shops have embraced the new ootra app which is revolutionising wine distribution in Australia.

ootra.com.au allows wine producers to sell to restaurants and wine merchants direct, bypassing the traditional sales team and putting winemaker and customer directly in contact. The app features a diverse portfolio of emerging and unique brands.

Adelaide wine bar Mothervine (mothervine.com.au) has 500 wines on its list and is a champion of new and emerging wine producers. ootra is proving to be a handy tool for the popular venue.

“The ootra concept is great,” venue manager Patrick Madden says. “It is really helpful for people on both sides of the wine trade. It’s an easy platform to have a look at what’s new – and available – and get information directly from the winemakers.

“I can do everything from the one app as opposed to jumping from email to phone calls to Facebook messages. I order through a lot of different mediums and sometimes I lose track of the people I have to contact – and how I contact them. With ootra it is all in one place.

“More and more wineries are getting on board and I think it could snowball.”

Emma Farrelly, director of wine for State Buildings (statebuildings.com) in Perth, agrees. “I like the ability to go to a wine space and find an array of really small producers in the one location,” she says.

“It takes a bit of the hard work out of it. It takes time constantly contacting winemakers and doing the research, but with ootra you go to the one space and there’s 30 or 40 producers on there already. You connect directly with wine producers and don’t have to talk to anyone else. The contact is quite personal and you do feel like you have good control over it.”

David Singer of Frenchies Brasserie (frenchiesbrasserie.com.au) in Sydney was one of the first in the wine trade to embrace ootra. He loves it because he’s always interested in smaller quality producers.

“With ootra you can mix and match with the wines,” he says, “which a lot of distributors don’t like to do on the lower-price wines. The app allows you to order one bottle of this and one bottle of that – whatever you like, really.

“It allows us to try different things from small producers that may not get a voice through traditional distribution because their volumes don’t allow it or they’re too new. Getting their voice out is important for the Australian wine industry; it can’t be dominated by the big guys. What makes ootra special is that we can put some of these smaller producers on our list and give them direct feedback from customers.

“I see more and more wineries coming on to ootra every week. The more that other winemakers hear about it, the more they’ll want to try it. It’s certainly going to be a really nice disruptor.”

Matt Shaw of MoVida (movida.com.au) tapas bar in Melbourne is another big ootra fan.

“I love the idea of the whole thing,” he says. “I like the direct connection to the winemakers, talking about the wines and the pricing with them. The winemakers can also contact us directly and get to know what we’re about.”

“It’s ridiculously easy to use and can save time. ootra shows that things can be done differently to how they’ve always been done, for the benefit of everyone involved.”

The growing list of winemakers who have signed up to ootra include Catlin Wines in the Adelaide Hills, Dabblebrook in McLaren Vale, Freehand in Mount Barker (Western Australia), Gala Estate in Tasmania, Lady & The Hawk in the Yarra Valley, LS Merchants in Margaret River and The Stoke Wines in Kangaroo Island.

“Brands represented by ootra have been selected based on their ability to provide balance to the overall portfolio,” ootra director Richard van Ruth says. “This is evaluated on winemaking approach, style, region, taste and branding.”

The ootra app runs on desktop, android and iPhone devices. Trade customers can personalise their profile by defining the type of venue, capacity and size of wine list. ootra then curates content to suit the venue.

The ootra ‘cru’ – a panel of winemakers and sommeliers – will continue to develop the portfolio mix, evaluating brands for inclusion on the site, tasting wines and curating their own wine ‘playlists’.

“The ootra cru will also provide a forum to consider and recommend future enhancements of the app,” Richard says. “There has been a terrific response to ootra from winemakers for a host of reasons, including opportunities to build brands nationally, target the right venues, own the relationship with the customer, and get paid on time.”

“For trade the benefits are simple: they can streamline their ordering process and save time, discover great wines and connect directly with winemakers in their own time.”

The inaugural gathering of the ootra cru was held at Mothervine on Monday. The inaugural panelists were: Darryl Catlin, Catlin Wines, Adelaide Hills; Janelle Zerk, Z Wine, Barossa; Alice Baker, Wines by Aunt Alice, Robe; Patrick Madden, Mothervine; Anita Sattler, The Smith, Melbourne; and Luke Robertson, Broadsheet, Melbourne.

For more information or to register your interest with ootra visit ootra.com.au

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