Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager Wines of South Africa USA

7/24 Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager Wines of South Africa USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome to #SommChat everyone! Tell your friends to join us to learn from Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer, #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We’d like to introduce you to Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer, #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer! Make sure to say hello so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Don't forget that EVERY tweet during this chat should include the #SommChat hashtag in order for everyone to see it!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: As we ask our Qs, you can ask Jim your Q’s as well! He'll do his best to answer all Q’s in the order they come #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: With so many participants lots of great Q's are asked! Even if u don’t ask 1--give a S/O 2 @keepercoll and @jimwinebeer 2 let us know u are here! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Let's start talking #wine with #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA, Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer #WineWednesday #SommChat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Hi Everybody! Happy to be here and glad to chat about South African wines. Let me know what questions you have; South Africa’s Winelands are a diverse place, so there’s so much to talk about. #sommchat @WOSA_USA

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@ jimwinebeer When did your journey begin for becoming a Marketing Manager for #Wines of South Africa USA @WOSA_USA? #SommChat

Wines of S. Africa @WOSA_USA: I started almost 6 years ago, after a long time as a sommelier in Manhattan. South Africa was a specialty of mine long before that, and I used to do a lot of freelance work for the organization, so it made a smooth transition. #sommchat

Sandy Wasserman CS @sandywasserman: Good morning @jimwinebeer @WOSA_USA how did you get your start in wine & beer business and who are your mentors. #SommChat #winewednesday

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: I have a degree in classical music, and as one does with a performing arts degree, I worked in restaurants. I was lucky to have Greg Harrington, now of Gramercy Cellars, as an early mentor. I took classes and then began working as a Somm and writer #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how would you describe #SouthAfrica #Chenin for blind tasting study @jimwinebeer ? cc @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Chenin is hard to generalize because it’s so diverse. Swartland Chenin is often more mineral and linear, whereas Stellenbosch examples offer more fruit. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what are some of the biggest changes you have seen in #winemaking in #SouthAfrica in the last few years? any new things upcoming @jimwinebeer ? cc @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Individual regions are beginning to commit to specialties a lot more, so we’re really beginning to see what does...

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 2) best where. Stellenbosch Cab, Swartland rhone varieties, Elgin Chardonnay are all examples. Also young producers are looking back to the top wines of the 20th century for inspiration, rediscovering the virtues of cinsault, for example. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@jimwinebeer This year you are talking about “exploring your own backyard” @TEXSOM, what can people hope to learn from this program #TexSom? #SommChat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: I and Remy Charest will be talking about regions where vinifera grapes may not do well, but world class alternatives are emerging - Maine blueberry wines, Danish cherry wines, cider, etc. We’ll also be asking why sommeliers overlook them. #sommchat

Sandy Wasserman CS @sandywasserman: Q @jimwinebeer what wines and beers do you like to drink when not drinking @WOSA_USA? Thanks #SommChat #wine #beer

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: I drink pretty widely. Lots of bubbles, definitely. Sunday brunch with my wife @ShanaSpeaksWine means bubbles and dim sum. I’m also enjoying lots of German and Italian wines lately. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @jimwinebeer What has been toughest part in the journey as Marketing Manager for #Wines of South Africa USA @WOSA_USA? Can U share some good techniques for introducing #Southafrica wines to consumers?

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: The toughest part of the journey is a small budget, frankly. The rand’s poor exchange rate and other factors means I have less to work with than my equivalents from other areas. That the wines are great and diverse makes up for that… #sommchat...

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 2) 1 easy thing is South Africa uses many familiar grapes; people already know Cab, Chard, etc., so a South African example isn’t a big leap. For Chenin, which is less familiar… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 3) I focus on what I call the median style, which is great for groups with different tastes. More and more SA Chenins have aromatics that will please Sauvignon drinkers, enough body for Chard fans, and the freshness a pinot Grigio drinker will enjoy. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@BlindedBite great to see you enjoying #SommChat today - @jimwinebeer would love any questions you may have

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: just sent off a Q on bubbles & French Appellation wines

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: @jimwinebeer Q- what are your favorite bubbles and do you have a favorite French appellation (Loire Valley) wine? #SommChat @keepercoll #wine #WW #WineWednesday

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Well, MCCs from South Africa first, of course…and Champagne! I’m tasting more and more German Sekts that I enjoy, and Italy’s Metodo Classico are getting better and better, too - Franciacorta, trentodoc, and others. #sommchat

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: What’s your fav MCC from South Africa currently? Sorry if you’ve already shared this I missed #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Graham Beck has long been the leader here, and for good reason; these days they’re higher-end cuvees like the Blanc de Blancs are becoming easier to find, too. But the range available here is growing fast; look for Colmant, Tanzanite, Saltare, & L’Ormarins... #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 2) It’s great that these days we have access to classic properties and younger boutique operations here in the U.S. #sommchat

Sandy Wasserman CS @sandywasserman: Q @jimwinebeer Have you ever made wine or beer? If not any desire to do so? #SommChat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: I’ve done some home brewing. I love living in NYC, so I'm not sure I’m cut out for life in the vineyards. I wouldn’t want to call a wine “mine” and not be hands-on. Plus I love wine’s diversity; not sure I could “commit” to focusing on my own wines. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome back @SandyWasserman to #SommChat do you have any fav #Southafrica #wines?

Sandy Wasserman CS @sandywasserman:I like Chenin Blanc or an earthy pinotage. #sommchat #southafrica #wines

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @BlindedBite thx for chiming in on #SommChat today - have you had any #southafrican #Chenin or #Pinotage?

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: Yes South African but just recently. I spent some time in the Seychelles but want to explore more of SA’s wines. Whites are my fav #chenin #sommchat #wine #WW #WineWednesday #cheers

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: You should the #chenins are delish #SommChat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Chenin is SA’s most planted variety, w/more grown there than in the rest of the world combined. It’s definitely something to explore. Also more and more top-end white blends, which isn’t so common elsewhere. The texture and mouthfeel of these wines can be extraordinary #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @jimwinebeer I am starting to explore #SouthAfrican #wines how would say the #Cab and #chard differ fr other traditional #winemaking regions?

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Stellenbosch is really focusing on Cab these days. The typical SA Cab satisfies the sommelier’s cliche about SA wines, between Old World and New. Generally that means New World generosity on the nose, but a more structured palate… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: For Chard, Stellenbosch, Elgin, and Hemel-en-Aarde are the places to go. The latter 2 usually favor a focused, more mineral style; Stellenbosch chard can be a bit rounder. Lots of texture w/o too much weight really defines a lot of SA Chards, and Chenins, too. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm I am having trouble convincing my #Chef /Owner that #southafrica #wines should be on our list - we have both french and Italian dishes. How can I best overcome this @jimwinebeer cc: @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Tell them to get back I the kitchen and let you do your job! Really, I think the QPR ratio will help you do your work; a lot of SA wines outperform in the BTG range especially. Start with the familiar varieties there’s already demand for - SB, Chard, Cab… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: If there’s a real French connection, emphasize how French Huguenots gave the industry a boost when they came to the Cape in 1688. There’s less of an Italian connection, but SA definitely has a comparable, Mediterranean climate… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 3) But the most complete solution is to take him to SA. We know once someone’s visit they’re converts for life. It’s a long trip, but for fans of good food and wine it’s both fantastic and affordable. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@jimwinebeer can you share some insights into the philosophy of Sustainability and the environment in making #wines in #Southafrica currently? #SommChat cc @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: The SA wine industry created their IPW sustainability program in 1998, and have refined it ever since. Today 96% of the industry is certified - look for the stylized protea on the capsule label. Social sustainability also plays a big role… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 2) SA’s wine industry is more aware of this than other agricultural areas, given the country’s history. The WIETA certification was created by the industry to address these issues, and is growing rapidly. We’ll see their seals on wines in the U.S. market very soon. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@jimwinebeer Why did you get involved in #TexSom? What makes @TEXSOM special? #SommChat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: TexSom is such an enthusiastic gathering of well-meaning somms that it’s hard to think of something comparable. It’s a setting designed to let wines shine, free from too much spin and BS. They do a great job, too, of encouraging somms to rethink their assumptions, too. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: we so agree with @jimwinebeer on @TEXSOM #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #Somm @jimwinebeer would you please describe some tasting profiles from SB fr #Southafrica? #SommChat cc @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: SB in SA is often my best example of the country’s New World, Old World character, offering some of the fruit and exuberance of NZ but also some Sancerre-like minerality. Tasted blind, if you know it’s SB but it falls between those 2, it’s probably SA #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what are the best times of the year to visit #SouthAfrica for #wine visits & is there a preferred travel path to do this @jimwinebeer ? @WOSA_USA

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Our summer is their winter, and while it doesn’t get that cold, it can be very windy and wet. Anything from Sept-April is usually fine. It can be hot in some regions in December and January, and S. Africans take long Xmas breaks, so keep that in mind for winery visits… #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: As far as a route, base yourself in Stellenbosch and you can reach most areas within an hour (not Cape Town; great city, but traffic will slow down your trips to the vineyards). Plan on an overnight down the coast in Hermanus, and probably one in Robertson as well. #sommchat

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: Are the SA Wines lower in sulfates? I’d heard this but hadn’t had time to research #SommChat #WW #WineWednesday #SouthAfricanWines

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: As with most parts of the world, this varies with the individual producer. I’d say premium producers are definitely limiting their sulfate usage when they can. #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how long @jimwinebeer have you been working @WOSA_USA and what is ur fav part of this job? any #US markets you are trying to break into?

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: I’ve been with them for almost 6 years, and freelanced for them previously. I love the wines and the people that make them; in both cases there’s such a diversity of character that I’m never bored... #sommchat

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: 2) In terms of markets, that is really up to individual producers. Because of our limited budget WOSA mostly concentrates on the East Coast, Chicago, Texas, and CA. That’s largely based on brand presence, etc.; obviously we’d love to see the wines grow everywhere! #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Time to wrap up! Hope you enjoyed this hour of #wine talk with #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: It was great to have #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer join us today for #SommChat. We hope everyone learned as much as we did! #WineWednesday

Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer: Thanks for having me! Great to #sommchat with such an engaged and active group of wine lovers. I hope everyone goes out and tries some SA Cab, Chenin, Chard, bubbles, or whatever else sounds good! Cheers!

Shelly Wilfong @srwilfong: I’ve been enjoying SA wines more and more. My blind tasting group raved about this gem last night. What a find! Cheers!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Please join us in thanking #Marketing Manager of #Wines of #SouthAfrica USA @WOSA_USA Jim Clarke @jimwinebeer for his time #SommChat

Blinded By the Bite! @BlindedBite: Thanks Jim for all the info today & great #sommchat @keepercoll