Oink! The happenings of the Pig in a Poke

Spot the imposter

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Claire and pig

Many thanks Claire for entering Pig of the Month and congratulations on your forthcoming wedding
Claire says “Dad has bought a litter of Oxford Sandy and Blacks to fatten up so we can have bangers and mash on the big day. The piggies have been chosen for their ginger appearance as my fiance is ginger!  The pigs have become a bit of a theme for our wedding, and we are currently looking for a red wine to serve with the bangers.”

And of course we would be happy to help out in supplying the wine…it goes great with Bangers and mash!

A telegram from The Queen? Almost…

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Speaking with our Guernsey distributor – Mr Michael Smith – and he revealed that there is a young lady of 95 on the Island who now has a regular order of Pig in a Poke. “She used to drink that Navajas stuff – her daughter comes in and collects it for her and swears that the Piggy is keeping her mother alive!!!!!”
Not that we would be promoting Pig in a Poke to keep people in good health, but far be it from us preventing consumers enjoying their favourite tipple and making them smile, laugh or even squeal. Here’s to that very important telegram in 2017!

Taking the gamble out of wine

Friday, August 12th, 2011

It is a busy affair getting launching a new wine brand – marketing, new distribution, promotions, production, where is the next wine coming from – there is lots to do! In the middle of all of that are the many times when we get out and introduce Pig in a Poke to drinkers in pubs who might not usually drink wine or choose wine for that evening. Having poured over 6,000 samples to real drinkers in real pubs, it is not often we hear a bad word.

What we do hear often is ‘What does Pig in a Poke mean?’.

The name is all about value for money. Poke is old English for bag or sack and is the derivative of the word pocket – coming from the French ‘la poche’. In old market trading speak it means check that there is a pig in your bag or sack before you buy – in other words make sure you get what you pay for.

We all want to know that whatever we buy is value for money – we spend our hard earned money to enjoy the little that we have left at the end of the week. That’s why we GUARANTEE our wine, because you need to know that your choice is good and we care so much that we want to hear from you if you don’t enjoy it. So many people tell me that they just buy ‘whatever is on offer’ in the local supermarket – good or bad! We want to remove the gamble out of buying wine, so that you know that you are buying value for money every time.

A taste of Italian sunshine

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Well it is here – the New Improved Old Spot Red. Could it get any better? That’s for you to decide – what we know is that the follow on wine wasn’t the same flavour and value as it had been back in 2008 when we started with Pig in a Poke. So we scoured the world for similar ripe, soft, flavoursome wines and this is what we came up with. It is Shiraz Aglianco from the south of Italy – plenty of sun there to really ripen the grapes, which is what we want – it adds to the flavour.

Wine: by the people, for the people!

Friday, January 8th, 2010


January 7th 2010 – the date that wine truly became a drink of the people. Through snow, ice and freezing temperatures 42 customers of Pig in a Poke and Nicholsons came to select Old Spot Rosé at The Swan in Hammersmith. Amazing what Pig in a Poke consumers will do to be involved with a new wine – a big thank you to all. Everyone was given the choice of three wines with different colour roses, A,B,C and a coin with which to cast their vote – sample ‘B’ won with 26 votes. Moving on to taste, there were four different samples, from which everyone had to select one and vote with their coin. Sample 3 won with 22 votes. For the record – colour sample ‘A’ received 13 votes and ‘C’ won 3 votes. In respect of taste – sample ‘1’ had 1 vote, ‘2’ 10 votes, ‘4’ 9 votes.

We believe that it is the first time in recent history that wine has been developed by its customers for its customers – designed and created in Great Britain. So we look forward to launching it in Nicholsons pubs on March 22nd. Find your local here!

Pig scoops prestigious award

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

On November 27th, Caterer and Hotelkeeper invited Snout to The Dorchester Hotel for the awards ceremony of Excellence in Food and Drink 2009. Little did we know that Pig in a Poke was to be awarded Best Alcoholic Drink. WOW!

Whilst many competitions judge on taste alone, these awards are judged on market approach as well as taste and as such provide an objective view of appropriateness in the market.

The judging panel included senior professionals from Jumeirah Carlton Tower, All England Lawn Tennis Club, Greene King, Punch, House of Commons, Glasshouse Restaurant, Nando’s amongst others. Two judges made specific comments,

Roger Denton Catering Services Manager Enfield Council said “The market approach was so refreshing that we just hoped the product taste lived up to it – and it did – brilliant!”
James Nicholson F&B Director Legoland said ‘ It was just head and shoulders beyond any other entry’

This is a brilliant accolade for Pig in a Poke, which confirms our consumers enjoyment, which is the business we are in – 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Snortingly brilliant!

Country is not a brand

Monday, July 20th, 2009

The New York Times on Saturday reported the decline of the Australian industry. What Snout finds so sad about the decline of this once-strident if not slightly arrogant industry is that the individuals on the ground really believed that from 10,000 miles away they were making such a massive impact.

So many in the wine business have hung their hats on the country bandwagon. In the last few years many an Australian producer could have been heard saying ‘My brands sales are going ‘gangbusters’ (typical Aussie speak) therefore my brand is really making it happen’. Unfortunately for the industry the vast majority were riding on the crest of a wave that wasn’t about their brands at all. Just more about financial misunderstanding, a moment (albeit a few years of a moment) in time, and the old French ideal that place and provenance sell wine. Up to a point…

Pig in a Poke doesn’t rely on country or grape variety to sell its wine – we just want to see, smell and taste an enjoyable drink. Most drinkers want something that relates to them rather than countries far away that they might like the sound of but never visit or have any relationship to – apart from soap operas on the TV. We will always try and bring you things that are relevant to you wherever you are drinking.

We will always concentrate on our quality bringing the best to you available and if you do or don’t think so…we will always be delighted to hear from you. 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

Somewhat unusually for a wine boasting a real provenance - Pig in a Poke comes from superb vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, and is a blend of two grapes, Malbec and Shiraz - we elected not to put the grape varieties or the country on the front label. Instead, we've called it Old Spot Red.

There are many reasons for this, but the main one is: we feel that much of the language of wine is irrelevant to the normal consumer. In our view, most wine drinkers want to know what the wine's about, what it stands for, what the experience of the wine is - not the intricacies of its make-up. The cheeky pig on the label and the name point to what the wine is - robust, meaty, stocky, no-nonsense. Naturally, we've nothing to hide and are very happy to talk endlessly about grapes, barrels, winemakers and the like if that makes our customers happy - but were not convinced that it does. What do you think?

Wine should learn from other sectors of the market. Take Heinz Baked Beans, for instance. It says Heinz. It says Beans. It does what it says on the tin. The brand gives us comfort and a sense of familiarity. It does not say 'Imported haricot beans braised in a sauce containing tomatoes, molasses, sugar and salt'. Thats not what people want to know when they grab the tin off the shelf. Why should wine be any different? People want to know what theyre getting, and that they can TRUST it.

For many people, buying wine is a random experience. It needn't be. With effective branding becoming the norm in the industry rather than the exception, much of the mystery surrounding wine can be dispelled.

Wine doesn't need to be highbrow or confusing. It just needs to be fun.