Lil Rippa – A Ripping Yarn of Success
Starting out to establish a niche wine brand for the FMCG market on a ‘shoestring' budget would seem a recipe for disaster, but Mike Poff and Michael Pearce of Shoestring Wines have been instantly successful on all the important fronts. Their ‘Lil Rippa' brand is very identifiable and easy to identify with for the Kiwi psyche, with modern and fresh labelling, but most importantly, the wines over deliver in quality for the prices that are asked of them. A number of the wines have taken gold medals and a top place in ‘Cuisine' magazine tastings, showing there is substance in the bottle.
Behind this light-hearted front is a seriously clever operating model, based on the marketing expertise in understanding what wine drinkers want, and the knowledge of vineyard resource that has the potential to deliver. Mike Poff's experience as viticulturist for Villa Maria and Mud House has provided much of this as well as the contacts for their grapegrowing and winemaking consultants, numbering around ten of them throughout the country, who supply the fruit and make the wines in the styles they want. Quantities are limited to that provided by small parcels that appeal for the character of the fruit, and the wines are made accordingly when timing suits the business and when there is a need for them.
The demand for the Lil Rippa wines is growing, and Pearce and Poff are slowly gearing up to meet it without compromising their modus operandi. These two wines clearly show why Lil Rippa is doing well, and the story makes a ripping yarn in times when many are struggling. www.lilrippa.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Lil Rippa Awatere Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011Pinot Gris from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 31-Jan-2012Bright straw-yellow colour, pale on rim, this has a tight, but intense nose of ripe pear fruit, lifted with exotic floral and spice elements. Dryish to taste and with good body, the clean, pure pear fruit flavours form a dense core to the palate. Subtle spice and tropical fruit elements unfold and fill the mouth, adding interest, and a suggestion of warmth from the alcohol adds to the presence. This is well-balanced with good acidity and the wine is fulsome and bright, while retaining a stylishness. The finish is sustained, with light pear and tropical fruit nuances. Fruit predominantly from the Awatere Valley, cool-fermented to 13.5% alc. and 5.5 g/L rs. A full and flavoursome Pinot Gris that has some restraint and style. Match with most Asian fare over the next 3-4 years. 1,500 cases made. 18.0-/20 Jan 2012 RRP $16.99