Rather than buying a vineyard, Cronk started to work with a group of high-end growers to make a unique blend with a group of oenologists. He adopted a strategy of investing in the winemaking business rather than getting too absorbed in the agricultural element immediately. The initial investment of between ?1m and ?2m came from the sale of the family home in south west London, along with some other possessions. ?We used the power of social media and PR to give ourselves as much publicity on a budget as we could and we?ve used the kind hearts of people we knew in the wine industry to help us along the way,? said Cronk. He sees Mirabeau as not just a wine but also as a lifestyle brand and the marketing messages have focused on that. ?So we won?t just talk about wine, but also how to enjoy life the southern French way,? explained Cronk. ?For example, we regularly publish news items that give you great food ideas, tell you about places to visit, profile other producers we love and generally let you catch many glimpses of life in Provence via various media platforms. Our audience and customers are also an essential part of our journey and people really do enjoy that.? Read more about the wine industry:
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Needless to say, starting a wine label from scratch and moving his family lock stock and barrel to another country hasn?t been without its challenges. The company was sued by Gallo wines over a trademark issue in the US. Cronk also discovered that some of his output had been tampered with and therefore had to be thrown out. ?On top of that, he sacked one particular producer only to discover that his car had ?died? on the producer?s property. He had to ask the man he?d just severed relations with to kindly tow it away for him by tractor. That said, the company turned over ?1.1m this year and expects to do over ?2m in 2016 ? and his wine has won several awards, including the Gold and Silver Medal at the Ros? Masters 2014 and this year?s Gold Medal at the prestigious Grand Concours d?Agricole in Paris. Cronk wants to develop Mirabeau?s markets in the UK, the US and key Asian markets. ?We?ll carry on working at being one of the top producers from Provence and we?re hoping to branch out into related products that aren?t well marketed yet like delicious Sparkling Ros? to take the fight to Prosecco,? he said. Demand for ros? is increasing according to Cronk ? and not just for summer. Ros? will be big this Christmas, he predicted. ?In the South of France we never stop drinking Ros?, it?s an all year round drink and it is more popular than white wine. It?s also a great partner for turkey!?
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