26 January, 2020

How Ebony Tinkler is redefining the wine industry for Millennials

How Ebony Tinkler is redefining the wine industry for Millennials

Ebony Tinkler, winner of Marketer of the Year at the 2017 Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA), talks to Ray Ruano about appealing to the younger generation.

As appreciation for wine grows among Millenials, young consumers have begun finding value in aspects such as authenticity and quality, the process of winemaking, the history of the winemakers and having a more personal tasting room experience.

Ebony Tinkler, from Usher Tinkler Wines, is at the forefront of blurring the lines between traditional and contemporary winemaking to appeal to new markets.  

As a biotechnology major at the University of Newcastle, Tinkler worked at Tempus Two cellar door until she completed her degree, worked for more than six years as the laboratory technician at Pooles Rock Winery, and then joined the family business.

She completed a postgraduate diploma in marketing as she learned the dynamics of running a business from overseeing vineyard work and cellar door management.

“What I love is that there are so many roles and so many different aspects to the wine industry and to our area,” Tinkler said. “There are diverse, interesting and unique opportunities, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of most of them." 

Tinkler's years of experience has given her the opportunity to express her ideas and manifest her vision.

“I have worked in a large cellar door, a large winery, then on to the family business, which included managing the cellar door, working in vineyards and in the winery,” Tinkler added. “I was able to see all aspects that would be required to develop the business and brand I wanted to see for us in the Hunter [Valley].

A new wine experience

Usher Tinkler Wines was born when Ebony Tinkler and her husband, Usher Tinkler, bought and renovated the original Pokolbin Church and took the ultimate wine experience to a whole new level.

“The creation of our brand really stemmed from the need to attract new/younger audiences to the area and it has been great to have the varying pillars of information from my work experience, to use as a foundation for the development of Usher Tinkler Wines,” Tinkler said.

Located in Hunter Valley, Usher Tinkler Wines continues to reflect its region and the authenticity of Usher’s wines as the lines between the old and the new are merged to create a new era for future generations.

Tinkler gained inspiration from her wine experience with the help of a trip to France and Italy, where she indulged in wine tasting and ‘good cheese and salumi sliced up in front of you.'

“It was all about the social experience which to me, is very important.” Tinkler said.

Tinkler noted that she has never purchased a bottle of wine without the intention of sharing it with friends or family, so the idea of creating a cellar door to emulate that experience was perfect.

"Our approach to wine tasting incorporates the food and wine lifestyle because let’s face it; wine is made better with food and friends." 

Usher Tinkler Wines– Born for Sociability

The message of Usher Tinkler Wines echoes a more sociable wine experience that appeals to everyone, particularly the younger generation.

“The key is to listen to them [consumers].” Tinkler said.

She said that she places more focus into listening to the consumers' interests and what they want to learn about wine which eventually leads to the creation of an environment and a product for everyone to enjoy.

“We use our cellar door as a relaxed, social, unpretentious space to learn about wine and enjoy yourself,” Tinkler explained. “It’s not all about the wine, it’s a great product, but the brand delivery and how it is showcased via the cellar door experience is just as important.”

Tinkler noted that Usher Tinkler Wines’ brand is unique and creates its own conversation.

Diversity in the region and business

The representation of the region’s diversity is an important part of Usher Tinkler Wines.

“Our wine styles, branding and cellar door experience make us quite different to other businesses in the Hunter [Valley]; however we still take our hat off to the Hunter as a region.” Tinkler said.

She expressed that the region’s history and community is tailored their business model, and the cellar door and wine has been well-received by guests and the community.

“People are really enjoying the style of wine experience we offer.” Tinkler said. 

For more information, visit Usher Tinkler Wines here.