Last week I was a guest at an imaginative evening of corporate hospitality. The hosts were ‘pitchcoach partners’ Sectorlight. Two brilliant poets, David Jay and Luke Wright, got the evening off to an electric start. Either one of them would have given any pitch an unimaginable boost as would young soprano, Louise Kemeny, whose unaccompanied voice held us us spellbound.
These three were the overture for the main attraction. Being a social occasion, this was Matthew Dukes, wine correspondent of the Daily Mail. His role was to conduct a wine tasting. The tasting was of the generous, rather than the swill and spit, kind.
Years ago, I was a guinea pig in a serious new product test carried out by a serious marketing company. In laboratory conditions we tested, tasted, samples of sparkling white wine and champagne. All visual clues, label and bottle shape, removed. The samples sereved in identical measures, identical glasses, at identical temperature.
The winner? A pale dry cider!
Scarred by this experience, I was not about to accept Matthew’s expertise. However, I had underestimated him. Not his wine expertise which is considerable but his pitching skill. For each wine he conjured up a word picture -the scenery, the stories around the chateaux and the owners, the ‘notes’- so each wine took on a character, a personality. And all this with a passion and infectious enrgy which breached even my cynicism
The wines each tasted great. And it wasn’t the wine talking. It was Matthew!
Incidentally, I later found out that Matthew has been described as “The Voice of Wine” by the Telegraph and has won Wine and Spirit Communicator of the Year.