Interview: Rachael Carter founder of SOHO WINE CO

JJ McConnachie

JJ McConnachie is a writer, book and movie lover, and a technology geek.

I understand big things have been happening for SOHO WINE CO?

It's been so exciting. We started in 2009 with a small team, and suddenly I'm finding that export markets are coming to us - we don't have to go out hunting them. We've landed a big export to the U.S.A, across fifty states and have also been picked up in the U.K. Since then we've seen huge growth and hired new staff. We even have a staff shortage in Marlborough.

Branding is an essential part of wine marketing, how has your brand evolved since you started out?

Branding is distinct to the market, and we started in sich a crowded brand market that we wanted a point of difference. SOHO is a sexy wine brand, named after the person drinking it, around entertainment and fashion, as opposed to the environment, like a rock or a hill, like so many others.

What are your wine/food matching recommendations?

 - Havana pinot noir is the cross-dresser of grapes, and goes well with red or white meat. It's amazing with a steak fillet or fish.
 - Revolver wine is a big wine, and goes beautifully with lamb shanks.
 - Stella sauvignon blanc is limey and goes with a gorgeous butterfish.

Weather can play such a large part in a vintage, how are your nerves when you see detrimental weather?

Mother nature is always a risky game. When the weather is bad, [grape] prices go up, making it harder on exporters.

What innovations do you see playing a large part in the wine industry in the next 20 years?

I see huge growth. Sauvignon blanc is always a leader, but we are starting to get noticed with Chardonnay.

Where do you see the emerging markets for wine export?

Definitely Asia and Germany, which is where we'll be looking next.

Things seem to be looking up for SOHO. Where to from here? World-wide domination?

That's the one! We're actually adding a premium beer to the mix, and a French champagne!

Do you have any advice for a wine lover newbie?

Try lots of different wines. New Zealand wines are a good place to start, but don't limit yourself. Try overseas wines too. It's a little bit like food - very subjective - so go with the taste and smell and keep an open mind. Blind taste testing is another great way to learn what you do and do not like.

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  • lr says
    Great interview - definitely one to look out for. I love that they are heading back to Chardonnay - so many people are put off by huge oaky chardonnays and there are so many fresh citrusy chardys out there to enjoy! Love that they are adding a methode traditional too!
  • Marley says
    Love my wine! Or yours.
  • Karla B says
    Rachael Carter looks like the personification of her branding; sexy, entertaining and fashionable-well done!
  • jazz says
    Great to hear that the export markets have picked Soho up - should do well in Soho in the U.K!
  • Squeek says
    Love the article and Rachels advice. might have to do some blind taste testing myself.
  • Grand says
    A business lady who knows what she is doing.
  • Dj says
    its so goof to see another nz wine doing really well in the export market! and rachel! you should touch base with the rachel ray show - they are always sampling wines as well as international wines and they always have aussie!!! get soho in!!!! ps; well done!!
  • Great industry to be doing so well in... congrats and thank you !
  • robmondo says
    soho will go down well in london
  • rps says
    sounds like a great mixture of good quality, well made, tasty wine with swish marketing to make it sexy and appealing to a wide range of consumers. Hope they do really well and will be putting some on my shopping list!

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