Gurvinder Bhatia IWE
Gurvinder Bhatia is the editor-in-chief and publisher for Quench Magazine – North America’s longest-running and Canada’s most widely distributed wine and food publication. Although he has written for Quench for over two decades and been on the editorial team for the past 15 years, Gurvinder purchased the magazine in 2021, and is committed to the magazine’s evolution to be a much truer representation of our society. Gurvinder is also the wine columnist for Global Television Edmonton, an international wine judge and the president of Vinomania Consulting. Gurvinder was the owner/founder of Vinomania wine boutique (opened in 1995, closed in 2016), which was named on numerous occasions among the 20 best wine stores in Canada. In addition, Gurvinder was the wine columnist for CBC Radio for 11 years and is certified by Vinitaly International Academy as one of only 15 Italian Wine Experts in the world. Gurvinder is a recovering lawyer and in addition to his law degree (JD), he also earned his Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with honours. In 2015, Gurvinder was named by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People. He is actively involved in the community and has served in leadership with numerous community organizations including the Edmonton Community Foundation, the Alberta Social Enterprise Venture Fund, and the Edmonton Shift Lab initiative to reduce racism as it contributes to poverty. Gurvinder developed and moderated a roundtable on ‘The Media and Racism’ as part of the Centre for Race and Culture’s Challenging Discrimination through Community Conversations series.
In order to communicate effectively with wine consumers, one must first understand human behaviour and accept that before someone is a wine consumer, they are a consumer. The wine industry too often fails to understand that making wine accessible is not about stratifying wine based on quality, but instead about appealing to a consumer’s (ie. individual’s) need to feel that they are benefiting from their purchasing decisions. All wine apps and data relied on to analyze wine buying behaviour rely on past purchases and predominantly well known wine labels that have wide distribution. The result is a narrowing and homogenization of the types of wines in the pool either recommended to consumers or relied upon by the wine industry to make decisions about consumers. But if the actual intent (as the wine industry likes to message) is to encourage consumers to explore, try and drink better (understand that quality and price are not mutually exclusive) then the wine industry needs to not just change the manner in which it communicates with consumers, but in many ways needs to return to the manner in which it communicated with consumers 20-30 years ago. The wine industry is in many ways its own worst enemy.