Lockshin, L. (2012), "Congratulations and thanks to Tony Spawton", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 24 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijwbr.2012.04324caa.004
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Congratulations and thanks to Tony Spawton
Article Type: Viewpoints From: International Journal of Wine Business Research, Volume 24, Issue 3
I want to thank you for your major contribution to the discipline of wine marketing during the last 25 years. Not many people realize that you were the first person to write a wine marketing curriculum when you joined Roseworthy Agricultural College in Australia in the late 1980s. At that time all wine education was based on viticulture and oenology, and you were responsible for adding wine marketing to that mix.
Next, you were the founding editor of the International Journal of Wine Marketing and the first issue, which you wrote entirely yourself, was a compendium of how to market wine based not only on your knowledge and experience in the w ine industry, but on your own view of the history of the wine trade. Many people do not know how much of a history buff you are and how your long term view of the wine trade was translated into a “how to” for the burgeoning Australian wine sector. You were the first person I know who separated the analysis and marketing for wine into “beverage wine” and “fine wine”, and showed how the marketing channels and activities had to be differentiated for each type. These perceptions still hold in today’s wine marketing world.
Not long after this initial issue of the IJWM, I came across the journal all the way in Canada and because of it, I organized my sabbatical to visit you in Australia in 1994. We met in August of that year after your Applied Wine Marketing class at the University of South Australia and decided to do a research project together. That was the start of a life changing experience for me. We collected data in Adelaide and published our first article together. Later you collected the same data while you were on sabbatical in France and we published two more articles from that. That initial meeting led to my moving to Adelaide with my family in 1995 to take your old position at Roseworthy, which by then had become part of The University of Adelaide. You had moved to the University of South Australia by that time.
We continued to work together and your work at the OIV led to an invitation for us to travel together to South Africa in 1997 to teach a week-long course at what was then KWV. That trip, where we spent so many days together, really cemented our friendship and my respect for you. We wrote what I still believe was one of the best executive programs in wine marketing ever developed, which included negotiation exercises and role playing along with brand development and international marketing for a new team of managers at KWV. It was so effective in that short time, that the wine makers and managers complained about the demands the marketing team was making to get the company to change its approach to the market. Your innovative thinking and ability to see what were/are the issues for the practical application of marketing activities to the needs of the wine industry are still unmatched.
You helped me again when I left The University of Adelaide and was ready to move back to the USA. You somehow convinced the powers at the University of South Australia to create a new position and I applied and moved into the same university as you. Together we developed the first online wine marketing masters in 1999 and spent the next ten years researching, writing, and delivering executive wine education together.
Tony, your legacy to wine marketing is tremendous. We are now an accepted sub-discipline within the academic marketing community. More importantly, wine marketing is a career and now an important function within the global industry. Everyone now realizes that the success of a wine is due as much to its marketing as to its viticulture and oenology. You coined the phrase, “planting a grapevine is a marketing decision”, which still today makes so much practical sense and is a beautiful opening statement to any wine marketing session with winemakers and viticulturists. That small phrase encapsulates your contribution to the whole sector. You spent so many years attending the OIV and preaching the need for marketing, for understanding consumers, for developing and managing the channels of distribution and the overall supply chain. Your messages have gotten through loud and clear. We in wine marketing and the whole international wine sector owe you a great debt.
Thank you so much for your contribution to the discipline and to me personally.
Your friend and colleague.