FROM out of the Byron Bay hinterland, where she runs one of the Australian wine industry’s hottest websites, three kids, a small herd of Angus beef cattle and a pecan orchard Jane Thomson must scare the crap out of the laidback locals in hippy central.
This girl is wired. And wired for high voltage.
God help the poor morning coffee crowd at the Sydney café where she parked herself for 30 minutes on the phone with Grapegrower & Winemaker because she let rip at around 90 decibels per second.
She was hot.
Well her The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society turns two this month after launching with a fanfare of hot pink and high heels.
And is it all working?
It seems so. Thomson has just arrived back in Australia after ricocheting around the cellar doors and wineries of Europe.
Where she had landed on May 1 as a fully-paid guest at the invitation of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.
So clearly she is making some very big ripples in the pond of wine’s movers and shakers. Not just Australia, mind, but the world.
The former psychologist – “not a shrink, that’s a psychiatrist” she corrects – still obviously knows her way around the minds, and hearts, of slightly more than 50 per cent of the Australian population.
There might even be a dollop of the statistician in there as well because Thomson can also rattle off data about women actually buying more wine than men and what her target market (which has a nice age spread across the mid 20s to mid 50s) likes to get from her website.
Hidden in that former professional background are also a few years dabbling in the evil arts of PR and marketing.
But Thomson has been able to display to the world what she believes is her ultimate incarnation as a hot mama who “is an enthusiastic consumer of wine”.
Perhaps a key to her success is she is a tangible BFF of all her cyber gal pals (the majority of whom she says, in reality, are tertiary educated women – but with a very go-get-’em youthful outlook) because she rocks up to all sorts of events, soirees and swim-throughs organised by The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society and its winery partners.
Which brings us to a key point of why she is such a perfect fit with her market.
March saw another sell-out event, this one in Sydney, but “April is too crowded with short weeks, school holidays and busy mothers so we didn’t have an event then”.
Thomson might be all about market empathy, but she is also all about quality. It is, she says, a cornerstone of what The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society is all about.
Right down to hiring a professional photographer to cover events. No relying on out-of-focus selfies where too often you get a better shot of someone’s septum than what’s really taking place.
Full story in June’s Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine.